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Criminal law, finance, tenant rights and employee rights are the topics of a three-part series beginning this weekend at the Champaign Public Library.

Presented by students at the University of Illinois College of Law, “Know Your Rights: How to Deal with Cops, Money, and Your Boss” offers a layman’s guide to the legal snafus often encountered by members of the Champaign-Urbana community. The series, which begins this Saturday and ends March 15, will offer interpretations of basic laws as well as advice on how to handle common legal frustrations.


“I think these seminars are meeting a long overdue need in this community,” Shaleen Aghi, a third-year law student and president of Street Law and one of the event’s sponsors, says. “It’s important for citizens to know the rights that are there to protect them.”

Though the presenters cannot dispense advice specific to individual situations, they can speak about typical misuses and misunderstandings of laws on the local, state and federal books.

“Police encounters can be confusing and scary, and it helps to know what to expect when you’re pulled over or stopped on the street,” Aghi explains.

The event is also designed to provide citizens the legal understanding necessary to redress perceived injustices in local statutes or law enforcement.

“There are a lot of allegations of racial profiling in Champaign-Urbana,” Aghi says. “One way that citizens can protect themselves is to learn how to courteously and non-confrontationally assert their constitutional rights.”

The first of the three events, focused on criminal law, will be held this Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m. in room A of the Champaign Public Library. The next event, on finance, will be held March 8 at 4 p.m. in room C of the Champaign Public Library; this event will be followed by a question-and-answer session with local attorney Alfred Ivy. The third seminar, on tenant and employee rights, will be held at 12 p.m. on March 15 in room A of the Champaign Public Library.

These events are free and open to the public.