SPRINGFIELD — In response to an undocumented University of Illinois student being unable to run for the position of student trustee because he was not registered to vote in Illinois, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation to change residency requirements to be a University of Illinois student trustee.
“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,” Martinez said. “We need to make sure all college students have opportunities to grow and participate in leadership opportunities while they’re on campus.”
The student who inspired Martinez’s proposal 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
But 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 card 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 the governor.
“While the governor’s veto was disappointing, I’m not going to stop fighting for what’s best for our students,” Martinez said.
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.