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SU rep helps students “know their rights”

By Saima Asad, November 29 2016 —

Twenty-five students attended Know Your Rights in the Students’ Union council chambers in MacHall on Nov. 22 . SU law representative Mark Shearer organized and led the event alongside former RCMP officer Chad Haggerty — who is now in his first year of law school at the University of Calgary — and third-year U of C law student and member of Student Legal Assistance (SLA) Nakita McFadden.

Shearer said the event was inspired by his past encounters with law enforcement.

“I got a speeding ticket [when I was younger] and paid it right away and then seven years later, I’m in law school and I learned very quickly that you don’t [always] have to pay those kinds of things,” he said “I’ve learned a lot in law school and I wanted some sort of forum where I could help give that information out to students so that it was available to them.”

At the event, the three law students talked about various legal issues that students may face including traffic violation tickets, landlord/tenant disputes and driving under the influence.

The speakers also debunked common legal myths, such as the misconception that if a peace officer misspells an offender’s name on a ticket, the ticket is then void. The ticket is, in fact, still valid.

Fifth-year political science student Graham Duff was one of the event’s attendees.

“The session was very informative and covered a lot of situations I’ve personally experienced and things my friends have experienced,” Duff said. “Knowing and being comfortable dealing with officers is important so that students get fair treatment under the law and know when they have the right to say no to people in positions of authority.”

Alongside the legal information provided, Shearer wanted students to leave knowing they have campus resources available to them, in reference to  the U of C’s student aw clinic that offers free legal counsel to students.

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