ASUO Legal Services moves off campus

ASUO discusses the relocation of their legal department. (Andrew Field/Emerald)

Yan Li has bought his first car for only a year with his part-time job savings. He took care of the car as if it was his child, he said. He even named it Baobao, meaning “Precious.”

When Li found his car was crashed into while he was asleep on Sept. 29, he said he was upset. A drunk driver drove into Li’s when he was on the phone, according to a note that was left behind.

A friend of Li recommended that he seek advice from ASUO Legal Services. But Li’s troubles seemed to continue when he could not find them.

The ASUO Legal Services helps resolve conflicts outside of the university. All students who pay the incidental fee can utilize the service. Three staff attorneys are available to provide legal services and awareness of the law to students, according to the website.

Due to the lack of space in the EMU renovation, ASUO Legal Services has had to move off campus since June. The office is on the second floor of 285-2 E. 5th Ave., north of Fifth Street Market.

Since moving, ASUO legal services have put up posters, run ads in The Emerald during Week of Welcome, talked to students in the EMU south and notified students through its Facebook page, Attorney Director Ilona Givens said.

Their official website was up a week ago to replace the outdated blog, ASUO Leadership Advisor Becky Girvan said.

Givens said said ASUO Legal Services will move back on campus, as an agreement with EMU Administration, though the official date is still in flux.

ASUO Legal Services not only changed in location, but soon will have changes to personnel.

Girvan said the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee is going through the competitive bid with legal services. The competitive bid allows all interested groups and individuals to present its offering services to ACFC, which will start in the next couple weeks, Girvan said. The university requires this process to happen every seven years.

Since July, ACFC has extended the contracts with the current Attorney Director Ilona Givens for six months to maintain services, Girvan said. With two months left in the contract, ACFC members will select a new provider, making sure “services will not be interrupted,” she said.

ACFC Chair Andrew Dunn said he wants to carefully consider all applicants for next year. He said it’s vital that ASUO Legal Services can meet student needs.

“We want to see what the providers can offer to compare which one is more cost-effective,” Dunn said. “We want not only quality, but also quantity.”

Dunn said students can utilize legal services in landlord and tenant contracts, especially with many massive complex apartments. He also wants to see attorneys with ability to handle high profile crimes.

Li ended up hiring an outside attorney and paid for the service out of his pocket.

“I got some money back for my car, but then I still have to pay quite a bit for the lawyer,” Li said. “It’s a good amount, but I wish I could have all [the money] instead of parts of it.”


A previous version of this story said ASUO Legal Services moved in August and the move was only promoted via Facebook.

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