August 10, 2004

Steven Rogers receives national recognition

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Steven M. Rogers, director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Students' Legal Assistance Office, is the recipient of an award recognizing his service to the legal community, social justice and equality.

Rogers, of rural Carbondale, received the Elizabeth Berg Streeter Community Service Award last week at a conference of the student legal services' section of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in Chicago. The award is in honor of Rogers' predecessor, Elizabeth "Betsey" Streeter, who directed SIUC's student legal assistance office from its inception in 1977 until her death on June 3, 2003.

Student legal aid attorneys from universities throughout the United States and Canada attended the conference. More than 330 schools and institutions belong to the student legal services section of NALDA. This is the second year for the award.

"I'm honored," said Rogers, who began working in the office with Streeter in July 1981. "I'm honored not only to be recognized by my peers, but to be associated with somebody who I had great respect for and whom we all miss, Betsey Streeter."

Rogers, a native of Oak Park, graduated from SIUC in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in political science. He earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1978.

The Students' Legal Assistance Office is a service to registered SIUC students and funded entirely by $5-per-semester student fees. The office handles a variety of cases and issues, including landlord-tenant issues, non-contested divorces, city ordinance violations, adoptions, name changes, small claims complaints and credit-related matters. The office does not handle contested divorces, student vs. student issues, cases against SIUC or the state of Illinois, or real estate issues. The office gives advice only on state-issued tickets, criminal cases and bankruptcies.

Rogers and staff attorney Lori Crenshaw Bryant make court appearances with clients in some situations, but much of the work entails offering legal advice, said Rogers. The office averages about 1,000 visits per year. Law clerks also handle various cases under attorney supervision.

The office also provides free useful educational handouts on many student-related issues, including tenants' rights.

The office is on the south end of the Student Center on the third floor. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Legal advice is not given out over the telephone, and appointments are necessary. For more information, call 618/536-6677 or visit the SLA Web site at