Student advocacy board offering forums on health care, taxes, voting

By By Niccolo Barber, Staff Writer

By Niccolo Barber, Staff Writer

The ASUU student advocacy board will offer a series of monthly forums this year which will cover issues pertinent to students’ lives, such as health care, taxes and voter protection.

“These forums are to help students know their rights,” said Kevin Khong, director of the board.

The board, which is one of 17 boards within the student government’s executive branch, is expanding the board’s services in an effort to create more of a presence on campus and better promote itself to students.

“For students, this board has been one that not many people know about,” said Jon Hayes, vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “This year is the most active I’ve ever seen them.”

For the tax forum, Student Advocacy will have a CPA come and talk with students and teach them how to file taxes according to their different financial situations.

The different topics aim to provide students with useful information as they become more and more independent.

“My parents help me file my taxes every year,” said Laura Williams, a senior in biomedical engineering. “It would be nice if someone could help teach me how to do it myself.”

The board is also working on researching federal health insurance programs such as Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program. With the help of the board, students can determine how to utilize these programs to their advantage.

Aside from the new monthly forums, Student Advocacy continues to offer its usual resources to U students.

“We talk with students in all varieties of situations,” Khong said. “Most of the time they can help themselves8212;they just need to know where to go. We’re here as a resource to let them know what they need to do to solve their problems.”

Student Advocacy acts as a referral system for students, whether the situation is a legal issue or one pertaining to college affairs.

The board has access to lawyers who will do pro bono work for students seeking legal council in a range of issues, such as leasing disputes, divorce settlements or even criminal defense. The lawyers offer a free 30-minute consultation to any student referred to them by the board.

“We hope to use the lawyers sparingly, but it’s nice to know they’re here,” Khong said.

Along with the referrals, Khong is seeking to offer more direct assistance to students.

“We can give students more hands-on assistance in preventative issues,” Khong said. “Giving them advice on a lease before they sign it, for example.”

With a larger presence on campus, Student Advocacy hopes U students will come to their office for counsel before a problem develops.

[email protected]