College students can have a knack for finding trouble — or having it find them. And for 40 years, the University of Minnesota Student Legal Service (SLS) has helped them deal with their legal issues.
The lawyers with the SLS deal with criminal and civil legal matters every day that have the potential to jeopardize students’ college careers and eventual professional prospects. Students drop in to SLS’s West Bank offices looking for advice on everything from traffic citations, property disputes, family law matters and landlord/tenant disputes to criminal matters including DUI, unlawful possession and sexual assault.
SLS’s longtime director is Mark Karon. Other members of the legal service team are Linda Aaker, Barbara Becker, William Dane, Adam Elling, Chelsea Flaherty and Karmen McQuitty.
The SLS office has had to roll with changes in the political wind, too. More recently, the office has had to keep up with the changes in immigration status and enforcement — changes that have the potential to derail the higher education aspirations of the U’s thousands of international students.
Adding immigration law expertise to its arsenal SLS has so far helped 150 students who have been directly impacted by this year’s U.S. travel ban because their country of origin has been placed on restricted status.
“Things have gotten more complex legally for college students,” said Karon. “It’s up to us to keep up with those changes.”