Students well-aware of legal information, options

The Student Legal Service Program fully supports students having as much knowledge about the law and its application as possible. This has been a fundamental part of the program’s mission since its creation in 1978.

Last year, the office placed 17 ads in The Daily Illini regarding drinking issues, held numerous educational sessions in Greek houses about alcohol and drug issues including DUI. Over 35,000 people went on the office website to learn about the law and legal issues. Our website has won national awards and is generally regarded as the most extensive provided by any student legal service program in the U.S.

The editorial of Sept. 17, 2012, edition of the DI is simply inaccurate when it says, “Student Legal Services may provide some information, but it’s usually not enough.” Students are well aware of the fact that possession or consumption of alcohol is illegal unless one is 21, pot is illegal, drunken driving is illegal, etc. I daresay it would be extremely unlikely that most students did not know this long before they came to college.

While exact consequences for every possible legal violation are not known by every student, that information is available, although the actual outcome may be determined by the exercise of judicial sentencing discretion. It simply not true that little information is available to students about drinking and drugs. I have never once had a student who was busted for underage drinking tell me, “I didn’t know it was illegal”.

We can all do more so that students make informed choices, but let’s not get silly and assume our students are utterly ignorant of the basic legal facts of life.

Thomas E. Betz,

director of Student Legal Service