Presentations on legal topics newly available

Leon Mire, Associate News Editor

Students and faculty who wish to learn more about common legal issues can now book presentations for their class or organization with a new program offered by Student Legal Services.

The form to schedule a presentation can be accessed on the Student Legal Services website by clicking on “Request a Speaker.”

Presentations should be requested at least two weeks in advance.

Kirsten Bays, interim director of Student Legal Services, said she was willing to speak on a variety of legal topics guided by students’ needs.

Bays said she would be especially interested in speaking to students at residence halls and fraternities and sororities.

She will also speak in classes if the instructor wants to discuss a specific legal topic or Illinois law more in-depth as well as talk to university professionals to help them guide students through issues they commonly face.

Although Bays is the only staff attorney on campus, she said she has professional connections with other local attorneys who have expressed interest in giving presentations if the topic is outside her expertise.

One of the topics she has already prepared a presentation for is “How to Expunge Your Criminal Record.”

In the case of some violations like underage drinking, underage use of a fake ID or public indecency, if a student is not convicted of a crime, they can later have their records cleared of the violations.

“Many times students like to get those off their records before they apply for jobs or grad school,” she said. “And there are very specific rules you have to follow to do that and very specific paperwork you have to use.”

One common misconception students have about their criminal record, Bays said, is that violations for underage drinking are automatically cleared off their record after judicial supervision because they did not plead guilty.

The truth is students must request for their criminal record to be expunged, often a couple of years after the fact, and violations with a guilty plea cannot be expunged.

Bays said she thinks many students would like to learn more about expungement. Some students come into her office who think their lives are ruined by a mistake made in their youth, she said.

“They think it’s going to haunt them forever,” Bays said. “And it could, if they have not done the right steps.”

Bays has also created a presentation on fake IDs. Although underage use of a fake ID can sometimes be expunged, Bays said using a fake ID is actually way more serious than students realize.

In Illinois, using a fake ID can affect a student’s driving privileges, even if they were not in a car. There are also consequences for people who loan out their IDs – up to a $750 fine.

Among the other presentations she offers are for helping students understand their lease agreements with their landlord and preparing for law school and a career in law.

The Student Legal Services office is located in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“Stand in front of the food court and look up, and you will see us up there,” Bays said.

Bays is available Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment. Most Wednesdays, she offers an open legal clinic from noon to 2 p.m. with no appointment required.

Bays said she wants to make more connections with student organizations on campus. “Anybody who has an interest, I’m absolutely happy to get the information to them that would help them,” she said.

Leon Mire can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]