The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989 -Page 9
SLS is the U-M's
own Perry Mason
by Scott Ladhe
Daily Staff Writer
Legal problems as a first-year student? Well, this may be the least of
your worries when entering college, but landlord/tenant, contractual, or even
criminal problems may arise as you arrive on campus not as a high school
graduate, but a legally responsible adult.
Should you attempt to sign a lease for one of Ann Arbor's New York-
priced apartments without any experience, you may be taken for "the one
that was born yesterday." The fine automobile that you have been eyeing
could hand you a world of troubles when you John Hancock those legally-
Or heaven forbid-you may be toting alcohol back to your dorm one of
your first nights in town, or drinking in the Diag. Ann Arbor, much .like
your hometown, has very sobering individuals donning police uniforms,
who are ready to slap you with a $25-$100 minor-in-possession fine and a
possible court appearance.
In any case, don't panic. And certainly don't use the Union's main eleva-
tor to reach the third-floor Student Legal Services, you'll never get there.
Take a deep breath, climb to the second floor of the Union and continue
up the back, south staircase. There you will find a full hallway of offices,
housing four full-time attorneys and a paralegal. They are ready to help you
with most of your legal problems, provided you're not trying to sue the
University (they recommend hiring private counsel for that).
"A lot of students don't know we exist. They should know we can do
what private counsel can do, but for free," said SLS Director John Forczak.
SLS provides free legal advice and representation on matters ranging from
tenant problems to drunk driving to divorce.
Although the non-profit office spends about 70% of its resources assist-
ing students with landlord/tenant disputes, some of which are di-rected to the
Ann Arbor Tenant's Union, the SLS primarily handles:
-contractual and consumer matters
-criminal legal matters
-domestic and family law matters
-trusts, wills and estate problems
-administrative agency matters.
Forczak stresses the importance of preventative law in successfully re-
"If they (the students) can come in early, they can check for code viola-
tions or lease violations, before signing," said Forczak.
Students can also get advice on the law before they make a large purchase
or get into trouble.
"If a student is buying something, we recommend they get any promises
in writing," said Forczak, because often salespeople will deny spoken
promises, especially with non-native English speakers having difficulty
with the language.
Throughout the year, SLS allows several students, both undergraduate
and graduate, to volunteer time and gain experience with the courts, filings
SLS cannot represent students in cases against the University, cases in-
volving student against student, or cases involving large amounts of money,
but they can give advice in most cases, or refer you to the proper mediation
1112 South University 663-5533
Visa, Master Card, MESSA, PCS, Blue Cross, Travelers, MediMet, PAID, M-Care HMO
If you are having trouble with Ann Arbor's finest, than perhaps Student
Legal Services can lend you a hand.
Tuition keeps rising
and students keep
searching for money
by Diane Cook
Daily Staff Writer
It was the kind of night that
goes down as "a valuable lesson."
Sure, I received the forms in
plenty of time to fill them out,
but I never had time.
So, there I was, trapped in my
cramped room with my income
taxes and financial aid materials
surrounding me. Just when it
looked like I was going to drown
in the sea of paper, there was a
knock at the door. My father
handed me his end of the deal-
the tax forms. There was light
at the end of the tunnel.
I charged back into the room,
armed with a felt-tip pen, shielded
by W-2's. I finished at 11:30 and
dropped everything off by the
But the night was still young,
as far as schoolwork was con-
cerned. When I came home I had
to complete two term papers and
study for a brutal chemistry
That was just another happy
April evening. Nothing new to
me (or the other hundred of stu-
dents herded single-file ahead of
me at the Financial Aid Office
that afternoon.) We all raced to
the "final day for equal considera-
tion" for financial awards. We
tossed and turned at night, pray-
ing for a University grant or
State of Michigan Competitive
Scholarship. We took delight in
the fat envelope from the FAO
short time, considering the
amount of materials the office
handled, and was even greeted
with a smile at the office.
The FAO acts as a liason be-
tween students and funds for
school expenses through scholar-
ships, grants, loans and work-
"The good news, we feel, is
that students on the average do
not need to borrow more to attend
the University," said FAO Di-
rector Harvey Grotrian. "We are
able to hold down the cases of
debt because of the institution's
grant assistance and scholarship
assistance as well as gifts of as-
sistance from state and federal
The FAO's role as a presenter
of financial aid to qualified stu-
dents is a success, according to
"We are meeting 100% of need
of nearly all in-state applicants.
While students are expected to
work and borrow more than five
or ten years ago, we feel that the
levels of student help within the
awards are tolerable," said
Continuing students are re-
quired to fill out the Financial
Aid Form; entering students have
the option of filling out the FAF
or the Family Financial State-
ment. Both are required to include
the University's information
sheet and copies of their own and
parents' income tax statements.