The Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) is a student-funded law office providing legal assistance to fee-paying UMass Amherst students and student groups.
We offer FREE, CONFIDENTIAL advice and/or referral in most legal matters affecting students, assisting them to identify and solve their legal problems. In certain limited circumstances we represent students in court. The SLSO employs attorneys, professional support staff, law clerks, and student staff. We also offer semester-long legal assistant internships for UMass Amherst undergraduates.
Mission: Lawyers fighting for students' rights since 1974.
Operating as usual
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
PUA provides unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. Visit mass.gov/guides/pandemic-unemployment-assistance-benefits-guide to learn more!
The Umass Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) is in the process of hiring a new Staff Attorney and invites you to the following forums to meet the candidates.
• The Student Forums are open to all Umass undergraduate and graduates students. The candidates will briefly introduce themselves and explain their interest in the position. The candidates will also provide a short Know Your Rights presentation on a legal issue relevant to students, followed by a question and answer session.
• The Community Forums are open to the entire UMass community, including students, faculty and staff. The candidate will briefly introduce themselves, explain their interest in the position, and answer questions from attendees.
Attendees at each forum will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the Hiring Panel via a web-based evaluation form. All forums will take place via Zoom and require pre-registration.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Stella Gnepp (Suffolk University Law School, 2013), currently attorney at law office of Kathleen A. Jackson, Associate Attorney at Strategic Counsel, and Temporary Staff Attorney at Community Legal Aid COVID Eviction Legal Help Project
• 2:30pm Student Forum
• 4:00pm Community Forum
• Please register for the Stella Gnepp forums by visiting https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYscuipqzkqGdUV1QkBbq5xqt1xbGGIES5M.
With break coming up, there are some important things to think about this year. Don’t be afraid to have your plan and be apart of discussions. #umassamherst #umass #umassteampositivepresence #umassphan #numberonephan
Learn More about the Student Legal Services Office!
Town of Amherst Halloween Safety Tips for COVID-19
Voting in 2020: What you should know
How to Vote: This year, there are 3 main ways people can vote. 1) By Mail-In/Absentee Early and in Person; 2) On Election Day; and 3) Mail-In/Absentee.
Voting by Mail-In. If you're planning to vote by mail, you should send your ballot as soon as possible or plan to put it in a drop box. It’s important that you timely request your ballot (in MA the deadline is October 28th), read ALL the instructions, mark your ballot (it’s likely that black or blue pen is required—check your ballot for instructions), and Carefully sign and seal. You can ballot Track online (depending on your state) or through the USPS. You can also deliver the ballot yourself to a ballot drop box.
Voting Early and In-Person. Many states are holding multiple days of early voting; some have already started! This is a great way to potentially avoid lines on election day. In Massachusetts, early voting lasts until October 30th - check your state's website for details. Your town's early voting location may be different than your typical polling place.
Voting on Election Day. Research what is required to vote in your state (i.e. ID, etc), find your polling location, take necessary COVID precautions, and stay safe!! If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
Make sure you check 1) your voter registration (the MA registration deadline is October 24th); 2) both sides of your ballot when voting (so you don't miss any questions); 3) if you're allowed to take a picture of your ballot - in many states that is prohibited (including in MA); and 4) that you're not wearing political clothing/merchandise before going to your polling location.
Additional Resources. For more information about your voting rights, visit the ACLU's "Know
Your Voting Rights" website. If you are having voting problems, call the non-partisan Election Protection
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg~ May her memory be for a blessing. #RBG [Image Description: Portrait of RBG in her SCOTUS robes]
Meet Nyuszika, the SLSO’s newest mascot! Weighing in at just over 4 pounds (for now), Nyuszika is the SLSO’s “pandemic puppy.” She is a connoisseur of legal news, and loves ripping through Lawyer’s Weekly, absolutely devouring each issue when it arrives. She loves sleeping, chewing on shoes and toes, and attending meetings with the SLSO’s clients. Nyuszika is also an avid crafter, and has been feverishly working on creating a snazzy SLSO mask design.
Town of Amherst COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance is now available! The program, administered by Community Action Pioneer Valley, will provide short term emergency rental assistance for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing up to three (3) months of assistance to eligible Amherst renters. Visit www.communityaction.us/amherstrentalassistance for more information and to apply!
The UMass Graduate Student Senate, in collaboration with the International Programs Office, and the Student Legal Services Office, invites you to attend an International Student Community Conversation on July 13, 2020 at 12 PM. On July 6th SEVP announced a modification to the temporary exemptions allowing international students holding M and F visas to engage in online learning. While the full effect of this modification is still unknown, the Graduate Student Senate invites you to join Attorney Bernadette Stark, Director of the Student Legal Services Office, and Ken Reade, Director of International Student and Scholar Services, to share your concerns and get an update on the status of the rule and pending litigation. The Zoom Meeting ID is 932 1405 4277.
Everyone physically within the United States, including noncitizens, has a right to remain silent when interacting with police.
However, noncitizens (people in the U.S. on a visa, lawful permanent residents, etc.) face additional risks when participating in protests and demonstrations (e.g., immigration consequences stemming from criminal charges—even if those charges are ultimately dismissed—of disorderly conduct, civil disobedience, unlawful assembly, failure to disperse, obstruction of a police officer, resisting arrest, or assault). Some precautions that noncitizens can take if they decide to participate in a protest include, but are not limited to:
• Noncitizens questioned by law enforcement or arrested at a protest:
○ usually should not disclose their immigration status, their birth country, or how they entered the country;
○ should not falsely claim U.S. citizenship or provide fake documents;
○ should carry and show an ILRC red card if questioned or arrested when protesting;
• Noncitizens at a protest:
○ should carry state, local, or student identification if they have it, and to not carry a foreign ID card or any other document that would show that they are a noncitizen;
○ should take digital privacy precautions in advance of the protest (e.g., leave cell phones at home or ensure that they are secure by turning off fingerprint or Face-ID unlock features, adding a strong password, and turning off location tracking, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi).
○ should make sure they have contact information for their immigration attorney, an emergency contact, and any support networks they may need to contact urgently;
○ should take significant precautions and learn about the possible consequences of posting about the action on social media, even after it is over.
Any UMass Amherst student who has questions about the risks associated with participating in protests and demonstrations, or who otherwise requires legal assistance, may request services (including further information about this topic) by submitting an Intake Form to [email protected].
Know Your Rights: If ICE Visits Your Home #student #umass #umassamherst #undergraduate #graduatestudent #studentgovernment #law #legal #studentlegalservices #slso #sls #massachusetts #ma #legalupdate #legalinformation #massachusettslaw #knowyourrights #immigration #immigrationlaw #internationalstudent #gradstudent #aila #americanimmigrationlawyersassociation
On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation that authorizes the revocation of the visa of any Chinese student or researcher currently in the United States in F or J status at the graduate or post-doctorate level who has been affiliated with an entity in China that implements or supports China’s military-civil fusion strategy. The affiliation may be past or present and in the form of receiving funding, employment, education, or research. Military-civil strategy means actions by or at the behest of China to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance China’s military capabilities.
The proclamation also authorizes the denial of entry into the United States by such a student or researcher.
The proclamation does not apply to:
• Undergraduate students;
• The spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident;
• Any member of the United States Armed Forces or his/her spouse or child;
• Anyone whose stay is in the United States’ national interest or law enforcement objectives;
• Applicant for asylum or similar protection; or
• Representative at or expert for the United Nations, or anyone the United States is obligated to permit entry under international agreements.
The proclamation is effective from June 1, 2020 until terminated by the President.
Under current law, once the F or J visa is revoked, the student or researcher may be subject to deportation. Any UMass Amherst student who has questions about this proclamation, or who otherwise requires legal assistance, may request services (including further information about this topic) by submitting an Intake Form to [email protected].
Are you an international student at UMass Amherst with a legal question? Ask an Attorney! Join the SLSO on June 26th, July 17th, and August 11th, from 3 - 4 PM for a free, confidential one-on-one with Attorney Stark! Co-sponsored by the International Programs Office. #student #umass #umassamherst #undergraduate #graduatestudent #studentgovernment #law #legal #studentlegalservices #slso #sls #massachusetts #ma #legalupdate #legalinformation #massachusettslaw #international #internationalstudent #immigration #visa #fvisa #jvisa #attorney #law #lawyer #internationalprogramsoffice #internationalprograms
Are you an International Student that received a stimulus payment? Join Certified Public Accountant Brandon J. O’Donnell and Attorney Bernadette Stark on May 14th at 4:00 PM, as they discuss eligibility for these payments, and what to do if you received one by mistake.
#student #umass #umassamherst #undergraduate #graduatestudent #studentgovernment #law #legal #studentlegalservices #slso #sls #massachusetts #ma #legalupdate #legalinformation #massachusettslaw
MA Eviction Moratorium: What It Means for Students — WATCH NOW @ https://Youtu.be/yfFh3rQHO8M. #student #umass #umassamherst #undergraduate #graduatestudent #studentgovernment #law #legal #studentlegalservices #slso #sls #massachusetts #ma #legalupdate #legalinformation #massachusettslaw #moratorium #eviction #evictionmoratorium #unpaidrent #unemployment #covid19 #coronavirus #stateofemergency #housing #tenant #landlord #summaryprocess
922 Campus Center Amherst, MA 01003
DISCLAIMER: Student Legal Services Office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides these web pages for general informational and educational purposes only as a service to University of Massachusetts Amherst students. Any information on these web pages is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice. Legal advice can be provided only in the course of an attorney-client relationship with reference to all the facts of a specific situation.
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In Massachusetts, it is Illegal for a landlord, on their own, to remove tenants and occupants and their belongings from a rented apartment, room, or home without first getting a court order. #housing #landlord #tenant #eviction #moveout #selghelpeviction #illegal #ma #umass #umassamherst #student #undergraduate #graduatestudent #sls #slso
Legal Update! The Department of Public Utilities has issued a temporary Order prohibiting investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers for failure to pay a bill. #landlord #tenant #undergraduate #graduatestudent #umass #umassamherst #sls #slso #legalservices #utilities
Tax Day has been moved from April 15th to July 15th. #umassamherst #graduatestudents #undergraduates #tax #taxes
As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1st to help slow the spread of COVID-19. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. #immigration #umassamherst #internationalstudents #umassgss #umasssga
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