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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Student attorney advocates for student legal services at USG

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Attorney Rodney A. Fleming and Attorney Michael S. Skulina, BGSU’s two full time attorneys. 

Rodney Fleming, Student Legal Services representative, spoke with the Undergraduate Student Senate on Monday about who they are and what they do for BGSU students. 

Fleming explained the goal of Student Legal Services is “to support student success adorably by serving the holistic legal needs of BGSU students.” 

Student Legal Services provides legal advice, legal representation, legal education and resource referrals for all students who pay the legal fee at the beginning of every semester. 

Students do have the option to opt out of the legal fee but 88% of students do decide to participate in the program, he said. 

Fleming pointed out that 73% of legal issues distract students from their academics, 70% of legal issues cause students more stress, and 27% of students consider leaving BGSU if they didn’t get legal help.

The attorneys have dealt with an average of 1,208 consults per year and 874 court appearances per year. 

Fleming pointed out, “we are not subsidized one bit by the university itself and that’s why we are established this way. We are in fact students’ attorneys. That $13 is all that we have as a program, that’s our entire funding model.” 

Zachary Noesen, Academic Affairs Committee Chair and Diversity Affairs Senator, supported Fleming’s “attorneys for the students” notion.

Noesen explained “they offer quite a bit of legal representation for students and I know some of my friends that have had, specifically, landlord-tenant issues have very much benefitted from their services.” 

Of all the institutions in Ohio, only six universities provide legal services to their students. Of those schools, BGSU has the second lowest legal fee with only Kent State being lower at $12.

On top of BGSU being one of the lowest legal fees, Fleming said “the university charges us rent, they charge us phone and copy charges. They just collect the fee for us and we pay them to even do that.”

BGSU students are the only ones who pay for the attorneys, Flemings stated, “the students are our clients.”

Jodi Webb, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, showed her support for the rise in legal fee, said “You may not use it but it’s pretty hard to find an attorney for $9 or even $13 so I personally have seen the value this has provided for a lot of students over the years.”

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