CHICAGO – Undocumented students at the University of Illinois will have a voice in their university’s decisions under legislation passed by state Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago, expanding student body representation among the university board of trustees which is now law.
“Undocumented students pay taxes just like everyone else. They pay tuition and fees just like everyone else. So they deserve the ability to run for leadership positions within the university and be a voice for their classmates and community,” said Ortiz. “I’m proud to have carried this legislation on behalf of the University of Illinois, ensuring that every voice is welcomed and heard when decisions are being made.”
Ortiz championed Senate Bill 172, which will change current requirements to demonstrate Illinois residency to be considered eligible to serve as a student-trustee on the Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois. The legislation is a response to an undocumented University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) student, who under previous law didn’t qualify to run for a student-trustee position because of a lack of valid voter registration. Ortiz’s new law will require students wishing to be elected as student-trustee to provide proof of their Illinois home for at least the last 6 months, and only one of the following:
- Current, valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois Identification Card; or
- Valid, Illinois voter registration.
Previously, students were required to satisfy all three criteria.
“The U of I System commends Rep. Ortiz for his leadership on this matter and his advocacy for a greater opportunity by students to have a voice in university governance,” said Jennifer Creasey, Director of State Relations in the Office for Governmental Relations for the University of Illinois System.