SLAC works on informing students of services available

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The SLAC logo overlaid on the URSU logo, leaning in opposite directions.
I hope it is not some bad omen that the balance of justice seems to be off-balance here... Lee Lim

SLAC provides useful services, but remains relatively unknown

In an article published last semester, the Carillon talked about the low visibility of the Regina Student Legal Advocacy Centre (SLAC). The organization, which was launched in December 2022, endeavours to provide free legal aid to the students of the University of Regina.  

Lawyers at the SLAC specialize in a number of areas ranging over immigration, employment, and tenant’s laws among others. As important as the resource is, it was made apparent in interviews with students on campus that a very small number of them knew that this organization existed to begin with. However, almost every student spoken to recognized the importance of a resource like SLAC, and hoped for better accessibility to their services in the coming semesters. 

The SLAC has, since then, rebranded itself and has been putting continuous effort in increasing their presence on campus this semester. From tabling during the first week of classes to updating their website and logo, the SLAC has been doing a lot to increase student engagement. Parveen Sehra, Chief Operating Officer for SLAC, spoke to the Carillon about the organization and some of the things that it has been doing differently, and how that has increased student engagement. 

Giving a general overview of the reason why SLAC came into being, Sehra said that “We saw the need for basic legal service for students on campus. [The University of Regina Students’ Union] was approached many times with students seeking legal support or guidance that was usually outside the scope of their expertise. The SLAC came about to fill in a gap and to address a need for students on campus. We have grown a lot over the last year and it’s been great. The most satisfying part is helping students with their legal needs, and we cover a vast variety of legal services as well.” 

Speaking about the vast variety of legal services offered by the SLAC, Sehra said, “Right now we are seeing a lot of residential tenancy issues, so landlord-tenant issues. We also do family law, that’s Chris on our legal team, basic small claims matters, and immigration laws. My philosophy is, reach out to us and if we can’t help you, we can point you in the direction as to where you can seek help.” 

Although launched for good reasons, the SLAC seemed to have been lagging behind at making itself seen around campus. Most of the students, both new and continuing, had no idea that free legal aid was available for them on campus. Efforts have been made by the SLAC to make amends and increase awareness about the organization so that students who need legal help do not have to wander about, not knowing where to look, while help is available right on campus. 

“SLAC has been really busy over the last two weeks, ever since this semester started. We have a marketing person now and during the welcome week we were tabling and promoting. We got our socials updated and up and running, and we have also had some fun giveaways and hopefully that has raised some awareness about SLAC. We’ve been receiving more inquiries now since we have been promoting,” said Sehra. 

“Just giving students basic information about what we can help them with and how they can get that help has been extremely useful at promoting the SLAC. We have created banners, for example, with QR codes that lead right to our sign-up forms that initiate the process of being paired up with a lawyer, […] and overall, just increasing our presence on campus has been the big thing lately. We have also been building relationships with different departments at the university, for instance UR International, so that they can offer information about our services to new and existing international students. We have also rebranded and updated our logo and our website,” she continued. Sehra believes that their efforts at marketing has led to a significant uptick in student engagement. 

As per SLAC’s data offered to us by Sehra, the major areas in which students seek legal assistance include family laws, immigration laws, landlord-tenant inquiries and employment laws, and the demographic of students reaching out to them is usually a 50-50 split between  

international and domestic students. “This is great, we want to help as many students as we can,” she added. 

The process to get help at the SLAC includes filling out their online form and giving them a basic overview of the issue regarding what help is needed. The filled out and submitted form then gets forwarded to the administrative assistant, who then helps match the inquiry with a lawyer. The general amount of time it takes to get paired with a lawyer is approximately a week, but students have been paired up with lawyers as quickly as within a day, according to Sehra. She mentioned that emergency services are also offered for students who need immediate assistance with any legal issues. The SLAC form can be accessed through the QR code on the SLAC’s banner or through their website. 

The team at the SLAC currently consists of three lawyers including Sehra along with administrative, marketing, and promotions personnel. Sehra took the opportunity to mention that the SLAC is presently hiring people for the promotions team. Students do not necessarily have to have a legal background to join the team. Interested individuals can apply through the link posted on their Instagram page. 

In her concluding message to the students Sehra said, “Please reach out to SLAC. We are funded by student fees, and reaching out to us will be the right use of those fees. Even if you have a general question about an employment contract for example or a lease you are in, feel free to reach out to us. We look forward to working with the students. Please make use of our services and please help promote us.” 

Recognizing how important the services offered by the SLAC are, we hope their efforts at increasing their presence on campus and making their services more accessible further increases student engagement. 

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