Student Government program offers legal advice to students

By Jen Taylor

Many students wonder how to deal with a landlord or whether or not to fight a speeding ticket.

When in doubt, students can turn to UK Student Government.

Michael Shea Chaney, a local Lexington attorney, has been helping SG with these kinds of problems for five years.

“Usually the beginning and end of the year are when most students take advantage of the service because this is the time when people start having major landlord issues,” Chaney said. “A lot of times people have trouble getting their deposits back.”

Chaney believes that the landlord tenant issues have become a severe problem and it is time for the city or a landlord tenant agency to become involved helping UK students.

Once a week Chaney comes to campus to meet with students. If students can’t make it, he welcomes them to his office on West Short Street with an appointment.

“We have seen consistent usage by students who have gotten in trouble with the law, a lot of international students especially, that do not understand the culture and can be taken advantage of,” said Todd Cox, student affairs officer.

Chaney said he helps many international students partly because they are familiar with the student service and know about the free help they can receive.

These students generally take legal issues more seriously than American students.

Either they come from a culture where these issues don’t come up as often or they don’t understand why they have broken the law in the first place, he said.

Chaney said he has seen everything from patent issues to bankruptcy and divorce questions. Whenever the question does not relate to his field of expertise he can tell students where to get their best advice.

He does not usually represent students in court, but is available to do so if he is hired separately from the UK service.

Micah Fielden, SG president, says they provide this service to help students with their problems.

“It stands to represent all students when students don’t know what to do in situations,” he said. “If their financial aid is not going through or having a problem in Spanish class because of a professor, sometimes students don’t know who to contact so we want to be the ones to bridge the gap.”