Lawyers from CSU’s Student Legal Services staff cautioned to avoid letting events spiral out of control in a presentation to students Tuesday in the Lory Student Center.
The presentation focused on how students can avoid legal problems by following the right processes during an out-of-control event.
Kathy Harward, director of SLS, said that though there haven’t been many cases where students were being sued recently, that “it’s always an issue.”
Harward said that although avoiding lawsuits should be motivation for controlling events, taking care of other students should be first priority.
“The primary message (of the presentation) is how to have safe events in your organization,” Harward said. “The secondary message is how not to get sued.”
One glaring example of avoiding harm to other students are the cases of 19-year-old CSU student Samantha Spady, who died just over four years ago from alcohol poisoning, and Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., a CU-Boulder student who died just days after.
Rob Lowrey, a staff attorney who specializes in criminal cases, said, “The best way to avoid a lawsuit is to make sure everyone is safe.”
Harward said hosting an event places “duty of care” responsibility on the host, meaning they must act if someone needs attention and the potential lawsuits could follow if something goes wrong.
For example, if someone throws a party and someone gets drunk and hurts someone, the host could be liable.
“It’s riskier to be a host than a guest,” Harward said.
Lowrey said jokingly, “Let other people host the parties.”
The group of attorneys advised students to be careful and take every precaution to avoid negligence, especially when dealing with opposite sexes.
“When you mix boys, girls and alcohol, that’s pretty risky,” said Harward.
The lawyers at SLS provide free legal advice and counsel to full time students on matters, including landlord-tenant relations, tickets, noise complaints and domestic custody.
“All questions are welcomed,” said Ann Walker, staff attorney at SLS. “We meet students on an individual basis.”
The SLS office is located in room 182 in the LSC.
Staff writer Stephen Lin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.