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) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to change residency requirements to be a University of Illinois student trustee.
“It’s important that students who are accepted and enrolled in the University of Illinois can run for the position of student trustee if they want to,” Martinez said. “Our institutions of higher education should be about promoting leadership opportunities. Being a student trustee is one good way students can serve and enhance their skills.”
Martinez’s proposal was inspired by a student who 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 is a proponent of the initiative.
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, to demonstrate Illinois residency and be able to run for student trustee, a student would have to meet two out of the following three factors: proof of residence for the past six months, a voter registration card and a driver’s license/identification.
Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by the governor.
“I have worked with the governor’s office on this legislation,” Martinez said. “I am hopeful that the Illinois House will pass the measure, and the governor will sign in it into law.”
Senate Bill 598 now moves to the Illinois House for consideration.