Thursday, March 16, 2017

New proposal could make it easier to become a U of I student trustee

An Illinois lawmaker is sponsoring legislation that would change the residency requirements for students at the University of Illinois hoping to become student trustees.

The proposal comes after a student who was not registered to vote in Illinois was disqualified from running for the position.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) says this should not limit students wanting to participate in their university community. “If a student is enrolled in the university and wants to run for student trustee, there should not be barriers preventing them from doing so. We need to make sure all college students have opportunities to grow and participate in leadership opportunities while they’re on campus,” Martinez says.

The student who inspired this legislation was unable to run for the student trustee position, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident.

The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee. Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors: Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months, A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card, Being registered to vote in Illinois.

Under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 598, a student would have to provide proof of residence for the past six months and either a voter registration or driver’s license/identification to demonstrate Illinois residency.

The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative. Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Senate Bill 598 was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Higher Education Committee yesterday and will now have to go before the full Illinois Senate for consideration.

This story aired on WAND TV on March 15, 2017.

Watch the story online.