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April 14, 1979 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-14

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Page 12-Saturday, April 14, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Legal aid: Students want voice

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Last fall, all University students had
to pitch in an eighth of a million dollars
to support a group of lawyers to handle
student claims in landlord-tenant
disputes, consumer complaints4 family
law cases, and criminal and contract
Now, Eric Arnson, Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA) president, says it only
makes sense that students get a chance
to supervise the lawyers.
BECAUSE ALL students pay the
$1.74 that keeps the Student Legal Ser-
vices running, Arnson says "it's real
hypocritical of us not to have students
on the governing board." An Interim
Board - composed of Arnson, Thomas
Easthope, assistant vice-president of
the Office of Student Services, and
Jonathan Rose, director of Student
Legal Services - is now in the process
of establishing a possible charter and
set of by-laws for Legal Services which
The word khaki, used for the cloth
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must be approved by the Regents. Ar-
nson said he expects the suggestions
will be okayed by* the Regents at the
May meeting.
If the Regents agree to the Interim
Board's ideas, the new Board of Direc-
tors will be composed of the MSA vice-
president, a representative from the
Office of Student Services, a Law
School professor, four students not in-
volved in MSA, and the director of
Student Legal Services, as a non-voting
member. The chairperson of the Board
will be selected by the seven voting
According to Arnson, any number of
groups like the Tenants' Union or the
Women's Crisis Center, can recom-
mend names for the seats of the four
student representatives. The terms last
two years, with one seat opening up
every term.
ARNSON SAID he hopes- the new
Board will be "fully operational" by
Oct. 1. He said there have not been any
snags so far. Arnson stressed that the
current program is already "very
responsive" to students' needs and he
does not foresee any . "major

philosophical or directional shifts"
when the new board takes over. "We
have no complaint about the type or
quality of the staff," he said.
Student Legal Services handles a
variety of cases but it is not able to deal
with any suits against the University or
the Regents. Because the program is a
University service, supporting a
lawsuit against the University would
be, according to Arnson, a case of "a
body that's suing itself." The program
also cannot engage in any lobbying ac-
Because students voted last week by
an overwhelming 89 per cent to allow
the University to continue assessing the
Legal Service fee, Jon Lauer, office
coordinator of Student Legal Services,
said he felt students have given their
mandate for continuing the program.
A SIMILAR proposal was passed for
the first time 'last spring, providing
legal services for all students. Prior to
this time, Campus Legal Aid, under the
supervision of Washtenaw County, was
only available to indigent students.
Now, with the mandatory fees, all


r n!

Guerrilla chief claims
victory in Nicaragua

students are eligible for help. "It's pre-
paid legal assistance," said Arnson,
"and that's the thing that makes it so
Lauer estimates that 50 per cent of
the cases involve landlord-tenant con-
flicts. An additional 20 per cent are con-
sumer complaints and another 20 per
cent are family law cases. The
remaining suits are generally criminal
cases or contract disputes.
According to Lauer, 2,000 students
have made use of the program this'year
alone. In January, a walk-in service
was initiated to answer any questions
students might have. Lauer said 300
students this term have already come
in for advice during the walk-in
sessions. Although the schedule for the
spring term is still uncertain, walk-in
hours this term are on Mondays and
Thursdays, from 2 to 4 p.m.
The office is staffed by four full-time
lawyers, 10 volunteers from the law
school, and three full-time support staff
members. Except for filing fees in
court, all legal services are completely




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From Reuter and AP
MANAGUA, Nicaragua, -
Guerrillas fighting for the overthrow of
Nicaraguan President Anastasio
Somoza yesterday controlled 50 per
cent of the provincial capital of Esteli,
one of their commanders said by
telephone from the besieged city.
The guerrillas disabled a Sherman
tank sent into the city and killed a num-
ber of National Guardsmen, according
to the guerrilla leader who identified
himself as Commander Dimas of the
'Sandinist National Liberation Frbnt
"WE ARE holding half of the city,"
Dimas said. "In the other half the
Guard only controls some sectors. They
won't get us out of here."
He said 300 trained guerrillas were
involved in the Esteli insurrection,
assisted by about 200 local military per-
The guerrillas launched coordinated
attacks on Esteli, about 70 miles north
of the capital, Managua, and other
cities last Saturday on the eve of
President Somoza's departure for a
one-week vacation in the U.S.
Meanwhile, National Guard jets fired
rockets into rebel positions in Esteli

while ground troops fought house-to-
house and pounded rebels with mor-
tars, reports said.
In Managua, FSLN guerrillas at-
tacked a police station in.a poor neigh-
borhood late Thursday but were driven
off, a guard spokesman said.
He said 27 persons were killed in the
fight at the police station and in gun
battles in several other Nicaraguan
cities, not including Esteli, but gave no
. Red Cross officials and refugees from
Esteli spoke of "many dead and woun-
ded." Reporters were barred from en-
tering the battle zone and there was no
way to estimate the number of
casualties. The last national guard
casualty report from Esteli was issued
Monday and said 77 persons, including
seven guardsmen, had been killed.
The attack in Managua, with leftist
rebels piling up street barricades of
rocks and burning tires, was seen as a
diversion by guerrillas to relieve
pressure on Esteli. The city is 90 miles
north of Managua, and the fight to top-
ple President Anastasio Somoza - who
is on vacation in the United States -
has been raging there for more than a



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