Protect UCSB Student Access to Privileged Legal Counseling Services from the LRC

Protect UCSB Student Access to Privileged Legal Counseling Services from the LRC

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Sabina Menzhausen
Sabina Menzhausen signed this petition

Dear UCSB Student Community,

My name is Sabina Menzhausen and I am the 2020-2021 Student Unit Director for the UCSB Associated Students Legal Resource Center (LRC). I am writing to inform you that UCSB students may no longer have complete access to privileged legal counseling services offered by the LRC. I invite you to join me in advocating on behalf of our student community to protect our access to LRC services.

Annual student fees uphold our access to these services, but because of a job description change initiated by the university that will be effective as of July 1st, we will soon be paying for a service that will be compromised because no LRC employees will be allowed to provide privileged, confidential legal advising or consultations. The job description change in question will prevent any LRC employees from offering legal advising or counseling to students. Further, this change will abolish any potential to form privileged relationships between students and LRC employees.

 

What does this mean for UCSB students?

  • Revoking Attorney-Client Privilege: By changing the job description in-question, LRC employees will not be able to form privileged relationships with the students they assist. This means that the communication students make to LRC employees could be accessible and disclosable with a subpoena (e.g. by the university, District Attorney’s office, private attorneys). Students would need to decide if it is worth taking the risk to disclose incriminating information for the purpose of a referral to an alternative legal service provider.
  • Limiting Accessibility to Legal Services: By changing the job description in-question, students would be forced to rely on an outside vendor attorney to provide them with legal advising and consultation. Students would have to first obtain a referral from an LRC employee, and then coordinate with an outside vendor attorney to work out a time for consultation that works with that attorney’s schedule (which can be very limited). This is an inefficient format for providing students with legal services.

 

How can you help prevent these changes from happening?

By signing this petition, you can help advocate on behalf of the UCSB student body to protect our continued access to privileged legal services from our campus LRC. Names and testimonies will be included in a letter addressed to the office of Nancy G. Hamill, UCSB Chief Campus Counsel & UCOP Senior Counsel. Her office is responsible for the initiation of the job description changes that could limit access to legal services and compromise confidential communications for students. The letter addressed to her office will demand that the job description changes be reconsidered for the sake of the UCSB student community. I have included the contact information of Ms. Hamill below:

Nancy G. Hamill, UCSB Chief Campus Counsel & UCOP Senior Counsel

Email: nancy.hamill@ucop.edu

Phone: (510) 987-9720

 

What is the history and importance behind LRC services?

In 2001, the UCSB student community voted “yes” in an overwhelming majority (>70%) to approve a lock-in fee to provide free legal aid and consultation to students. This vote gave life to the LRC, granting them with their own source of funding to provide students with legal services. In 2017, the UCSB student community again voted “yes” to increasing student fees for LRC services. These ballot measures were vetted by UCOP and clearly supported that LRC services are meant to provide free legal education and consultation for UCSB students.

The LRC provides the UCSB student community with free and privileged legal counseling services for legal issues that may negatively impact their academic experience and/or overall well-being. Free and privileged legal counseling is currently provided by other UC campuses to their student bodies, including UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD and UCSC. On average, the UCSB LRC assists 1000 to 1300 students each year with legal issues including but not limited to: landlord-tenant disputes, traffic tickets or violations, criminal citations, personal injury matters, credit and debt problems, family law, harassment, employment problems, and immigration.

 

There is no excuse for UCOP to alter UCSB LRC services without consulting its student community. We as students have the right and standing to protest this change by campus counsel in the proposed job description and how it will affect LRC operations in the future.

I thank you in advance for your support in upholding our access as UCSB students to free and privileged legal counseling services from the LRC.

 

Sincerely,

Sabina Menzhausen

2020-2021 Student Unit Director, UCSB Associated Students Legal Resource Center

smenzhausen@gmail.com

 

Riley Traut

2019-2020 Student Unit Director, UCSB Associated Students Legal Resource Center

rtraut2015@gmail.com