Law & Order: SSU

Sheridan College’s legal resource centre provides students with information and tactics to deal with a wide variety of challenges.

Any student paying Sheridan Student Union (SSU) fees can book an appointment with a lawyer to get free advice on tenant/landlord disputes, contract reviews and other personal legal issues.

“Students just come up to the Student Union office to book,” said SSU president Jenna Pulver. “They just go to our customer service rep, see which appointments are available and book through them.”

“It’s a well-liked service, it just needs to be promoted more.”

All appointments are done with one lawyer, Bill Reid. The Student Union also utilizes his skills for some of its own inquiries, but he spends most of his time at Sheridan with individual students.

“He’s been with us for three years,” said Pulver. “Prior to that, we had paralegal students doing the meetings.”

“Their advice could only go so far,” she said. “There were more serious complaints coming in and we actually needed professional advice.”

The service is used most at the Davis and Hazel McCallion campuses, which are both booked solid for appointments. “Trafalgar is busy,” she said, “but not packed as much as the other ones.”

[modal id=”12722″ style=plain color=default size=default]Bill Reid’s schedule[/modal]

As heavily used as the legal resource program may be, most students still don’t know about it.

“I had no idea that we had something like that,” said Art Fundamentals student Steven Fleming. “I think it’s a good idea.”

“It’s good to know that if you’re in trouble, there’s something there,” he added. “It’s more than just a guidance counsellor.”

Keontay Brown, a Visual Merchandising Arts student, was also unaware of the legal aid service. “I have to pay a lot for school,” she explained. “Just the fact that it’s free is a plus to me. I think they should make it more known to people, though.”

“When asked, only about 22 per cent of students knew it existed,” said Pulver. “Of the students who have used it, it was rated a 4.3 out of five.”

“It’s a well-liked service, it just needs to be promoted more,” she added.

The Sheridan Student Union plans to put more into promoting such services this year through bulletins and information booths. This is a change from its previous stronger focus on getting students more engaged with organized events.