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The Tar HeelMonday, August 18, 19869
Student Legal Services helps students- fight bad
By DWIGHT MARTIN
A legal legacy of the days of
student political activism is alive and
thriving on the UNC campus.
Just like the old days. Student
Legal Services offers free court
representation to students who have
landlord problems, minor consumer
problems, or wish to settle an
Student Legal Services cannot
represent students who wish to bring
suit against the University or the state
of North Carolina. Representation or
advice cannot be given to students
who wish to bring suit against fellow
But some things have changed
since Student Legal Services came to
campus in the mid-1970s.
"This generation is far more aware
of consumer rights (than the student
activists) and far less aware of their
civil liberties," a Student Legal
Services attorney said in a recent
Dorothy C. Bernholz, one of the
service's two full-time attorneys, said
that from the point of view of a
lawyer who represents students, this
generation was sometimes too
respectful of police authority.
"But I'm beginning to see more
involvement with victim's rights," she
said. Today's students are becoming
more concerned with assaults, which
are rarely published unless an arrest
has been made, she added.
Bernholz said she hoped this
concern would lead to greater aware
ness and the establishment of a
campus escort service.
Student Legal Services sees about
200 clients a month, she said. Nearly
25 percent of them have landlord
"We advise students of their
specific legal rights," she said.
Students need to know what steps
they must take to recover rental
deposits, she added.
"We don't want to go to court,"
Bernholz said. Court costs are
expensive for landlords. Eventually
those costs will be passed on to
"We prefer to settle in mediation,"
she said. "We offer advice on an
entire range of human legal prob
lems. That's one of the reasons I like
She said she had counseled stu
dents who had problems ranging
from assault to civil contract to
Some students seek the advice of
Student Legal Services before realiz
ing they may be subject to legal
protection or prosecution, she said.
One such student was the victim
of incest, Bernholz said. The student's
visit to Student Legal Services
eventually led to a prosecution, she
Bernholz said she also advised
many students who have legal prob
lems arising from drinking or other
forms of intoxication.
When asked what consequences
the new drinking law will have on
students, Bernholz said, "It's going
to be a disaster."
The law makes it illegal for persons
below 21 to drink alcoholic bever
ages. It will be enforced on campus
at the beginning of fall semester.
"Alcohol will go underground,"
she said. "Everybody, in my opinion,
will continue drinking."
Bernholz said she expected drink
ing to be done in apartments, off
campus, and that students would
drive after drinking. Ironically,
arrests made for driving while
impaired may increase among stu
dents below 21.
Student Legal Services will advise
underage students to expect arrest if
they insist on drinking, she said. Area
police plan to enforce the new law
Bernholz said Student Legal Ser
vices is planning a series of educa
tional Legal Lunches. Legal Lunches
will provide a forum for legal dram
atizations where "just about every
possible circumstance to communi-
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Dorothy Bernholz, director of Student Legal Services
cate the (alcohol) situation" will be
presented, she said.
"The only real justification for us
being on campus is the educational
process," she said. Taking legal
action involves problem solving.
Student Legal Services offers
advice, in confidence, but cannot
make legal choices for students, she
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