Legal Service Fee Referendum

Referendum

The GSA-UW Board of Directors approved a decision to call a referendum for a Legal Protection Service to be offered as a GSA-UW administered service.

Background Information

Many graduate students are unable to afford private representation when faced with legal challenges. Currently, the GSA-UW’s legal aid is limited to termly consultation sessions with the GSA-UW lawyer. These sessions are 15 minutes in length, appointment-based, and issues pertaining to immigration, academics, employment or of a criminal nature are not eligible for consultation.

Studentcare, which currently administers the GSA-UW Health and Dental Care Plans, offers a Legal Protection Service to student organizations. A Studentcare representative presented details of this service at the February meeting of the GSA-UW Board.

In summary, the service covers legal representation in three areas (housing, employment, and academic) – including lawyers’ fees; legal expenses, such as court fees and attendance, and witness expenses; and experts’ fees up to $1000. The service also provides an on-demand telephone helpline which can provide legal information in any area of the law, not limited to housing, employment, and academic matters. There is no cap on the number of times the service can be used.

This service would greatly expand graduate students’ ability to access legal information and/or representation. The cost is estimated at $28 per student per year, and would be fully refundable within an opt-out period, similar to the GSA-UW Dental Plan.

The Question

The following question will be on the ballot for approval. 

“Do you support the implementation of a fee for a GSA-UW administered legal protection service at an initial cost of less than $30 per academic year, from which students may opt out within a change-of-coverage period?”

You may vote “Yes”, “No”, or “Decline to Respond.”

Voting

The referendum will take place via online ballot from 9:00 AM on MAY 11, 2020 to 5:00 PM on MAY 18, 2020.  All members are eligible to vote. Each graduate student can vote once.

Last Updated: May 21, 2020

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