Home Campus OPINION: Make sure to know your legal resources for HallOUween

OPINION: Make sure to know your legal resources for HallOUween

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Athens Halloween Block Party. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Opinion writer Maddie Kramer explains why it is important to know your legal resources in Athens, especially during special weekends like Halloween

With homecoming festivities finished, many Ohio University students are putting the finishing touches on their Halloween costumes and getting ready for HallOUween weekend. Oct. 27 begins the Athens Halloween block party, which promises a “clean and safe” Halloween party on Court Street.

In the 1970s, the block party was much wilder than what townies and visitors alike will experience this year. Still, the takeover of costumed people heading to the local bars and eateries will ensue, and Court Street will be shut down to accommodate as many as 25,000 people.

As with any time large amounts of people, music, and alcohol get together, things can get out of control. It is important to understand what resources students have if they find themselves facing Ohio University’s Office for Community Standards or the Athens County Court.

Many students pay the university’s $12 legal fee without even really considering what it is. The legal fee enrolls the student in a “legal insurance program” by the Center for Student Legal Services.

The center has two full-time attorneys available for students who are enrolled in the program. The center also offers a notary service and general advice for students.

However, the center cannot offer assistance for university matters, such as hearings before the Office for Community Standards. This is where Students Defending Students can help.

Students Defending Students can offer “advice and guidance” for students facing the student disciplinary process. Each of the student representatives is trained on the processes of the Office for Community Standards. These services are provided for free.

Although these resources are available, it is important to remember to still behave safely. Dean of Students Dr. Jenny Hall-Jones reminded students to “be smart, safe, and civil,” regarding Halloween in an email on Oct. 22.

While being safe and practicing respect are important, knowledge of the legal insurance program and Students Defending Students on campus can help students in instances where caution is not enough and legal trouble arises.

Students, have fun on HallOUween and make sure to be safe. If not, understand the resources available if you may need them.

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