Hearing student voices, qualms with university
Patricia Lacy guides students with issues related with university services, staff
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 02:11
ASOSU’s Office of Advocacy is led by Patricia Lacy, Lacy offers advocate services to students who feel they were wronged or are at conflict with OSU.
Lacy offers services including academic advising, academic dishonesty, discrimination, faculty misconduct, financial aid, grade appeals and off-campus disputes with OSU security officers.
“I work with students when the other party to the dispute is OSU,” Lacy said. “I help guide and advise the students as they navigate through the university’s guidelines.”
All these services are done by Lacy, aiming to help students with as many of their needs as possible on campus. Lacy has been working at OSU for the past 12 years.
Lacy joined OSU when the Office of Advocacy was first founded, with the interest of helping a group of clients with diverse needs and issues. Lacy had practiced law professionally, but found the environment mundane, and often found herself in personal conflicts with clients.
“It was hard for me to assist the party I didn’t support; in this job, there’s no conflict of interest,” Lacy said.
OSU’s environment appealed greatly to her, and she applied for the position in 2000 as soon as she saw the position of student advocate advertised by ASOSU. Compared to the law firm, there was a greater variety in her work. According to Lacy, she never grows tired of the different students she meets.
Lacy grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and did not intend to practice law. After owning an antique shop and rental properties for 20 years, she decided she wanted another profession, and moved to Oregon to attend law school at the University of Oregon. Lacy had family in both Oregon and Virginia.
Despite visiting the West Coast often in her childhood, she found herself dealing with cultural differences, especially when it came to clothing.
“On the West Coast, everyone dresses so casually and people often wear earth-tone colors. The East Coast, and particularly the South, is much brighter in clothing choice,” Lacy said.
While Lacy does not practice law at OSU, that does not mean the issues she helps students through are not relevant. For example, the most common cases Lacy helps with are academic dishonesty, student conduct, theft in the OSU Bookstore, ASOSU advising, financial aid, UHDS issues and alcohol.
She helps the students prepare for their hearings, and either has the charge removed or readjusted to something more reasonable. So essentially, any issue a student has with the OSU administration, she can assist with.
Lacy loves helping the OSU students. Her favorite part is working with her clients, and helping them through their issues. However, Lacy is saddened by the growing population of OSU because the students can no longer get as much of the personal attention they need.
“Students need to feel secure, and they got that from receiving personal treatment. It is an increasing challenge to offer individual attention to each student with an issue when our campus is growing so rapidly,” Lacy said.
Lacy’s love of her job is also reflected in her student workers. Stephanie Castano, a senior in public health, greatly enjoys working under Lacy.
“She gives us a lot of good feedback and tries to get to know us personally; our goals, our strengths and weaknesses, and what we need to become stronger in,” Castano said.
Lacy equally enjoys her student workers, and says they are warm, supportive, understanding, and provide an outstanding experience for students who first walk into the office.
While Lacy does plan to retire in the next few years, she hopes the Office of Advocacy will expand to a second location at the new Student Experience Center, which will be completed in the next few years. This will provide extra personal service to the growing student population.
The Office of Advocacy is located in Snell Hall 133, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Amanda Antell, news reporter