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September 29, 2023

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Legal Services request resolution for more money from student government

Legal Services came to student government asking for help.

Managing Attorney Rodney Fleming came Monday night to the Undergraduate Student Government to ask them to write a resolution raising the fee from $7 to $9 per semester.

They have been charging $7 as an optional fee for about ten years now and they are running out of funds.

“Our mission is to support students’ success by affordably serving holistic legal needs of BGSU students,” Fleming said during the meeting.

Their office employs three licensed attorneys, he said. The reason they need the increase is because they don’t get funding from the University.

“That $7 revenue is the only fund we get,” Fleming said during the meeting. “That makes up 100 percent of the budget. We need to increase to continue to provide students services.”

According to Fleming, 88 percent of the student body chose to pay for student legal fee. They provide services to students for criminal, traffic, landlord/tenant and document preparation, review and executions.

“Over 1,500 students come through my office every year,” he said during the meeting. “I think once people understand what we are, they will want the help.”

Senator Aeden Timbrook asked how long will these new funds last if the increase happens.

“I would want to say for at least five years but if the students see the increase and not as many sign up for the service, it might be different,” Flemings answered. “However, I’m pretty sure we will be able to reach at least a five year mark.”

President of USG Alex Solis said he would like a resolution to be written to support the fee increase.

“I thing it’s worth it,” he said. “I don’t want to be an advocate for increases in fees, but I see two good things coming out of this. One is it’s an option to not pay the fee, so students have that option. Two is the integrity of the office. If we don’t [support the fee], student legal services will operate in deficit and we don’t want to see that.”

Solis said USG is the body that student services and the green fund come through to ask for support.

“If a senator is passionate about this, they can get together and work with chairs and the speaker,” he said. “It’s kind of a collaborate effort with the whole cabinet.”

He also stressed during the meeting the resolution needs to be written and presented in a timely manner.

“Let’s put it on a fast track timeline, they are already planning for next year’s budget,” he said.

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