A survey given to students by the Associated Students Inc. at Long Beach State could potentially provide new resources to students seeking legal assistance.
Created last semester through ENGL 417, a proposal writing course, ASI Chief Justice Robina Henson wanted to survey the student population to identify possible needs for legal help. The ASI Government Legal Needs Survey, led by Henson, asks students about their current knowledge of legal assistance offered on campus, if they have ever needed legal help before, what they would seek help for and more.
Through volunteering for the College of Business Administration Legal Information Clinic at LBSU and working with ASI, Henson saw a need for more legal aid resources on campus.
“While [the CBA clinic] is a great resource, it doesn’t provide actual legal aid for students,” Henson said.
Henson felt like it was important to have a legal aid service on campus and after talking with some students, she came to the conclusion that it was something that, if implemented, would help students who were confused with obtaining legal help.
“Many students go further in saying they have not actually pursued [legal help] because they did not know where to get the resources,” Henson said.
According to Henson, if the survey elicits information that would lead Henson and other ASI members to pursue the creation of a legal aid center, it would become a multi-year project in the making to bring on workers and volunteers for the service and to open an office space.
Fashion merchandising senior Olivia Brents thinks that an opening of a legal aid space would “be a very viable source” for students.
“It would be great to have a resource to go to if we needed that help,” Brents said. “It would make it really accessible.”
Henson also advocates for the possible center because it would provide volunteer and internship opportunities to students interested in pursuing a career in law.
“There isn’t too much of an avenue for them on campus to pursue [law],” Henson said. “As a pre-law student, I myself have to reach outside of the campus for internships and to do research. We want to create an on-campus opportunity for students to gain skills.”
It is not yet known when or where the space would open, but Henson is looking into finding an open space at the University Student Union in the future.
Resonating with Henson’s belief, public relations junior Santi Melendez said he believes students could benefit from additional legal services on campus.
“I think a lot of times students don’t know their rights as clearly as they should, so they put up with a lot of situations that should really be taken more seriously sooner rather than later,” Melendez said.
The online survey is on the ASI website and will be open until Thursday.