Ives rejects allowing undocumented students to be university trustees
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) wants the House to do what the Senate couldn't regarding Senate Bill 598: Stop it in its tracks.
The bill, presented to the House by Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) on Monday, would allow undocumented students to be student trustees at the University of Illinois. It passed the Senate in early April.
“What you do have here is you do have undocumented, illegal, or otherwise noncitizen students who would be allowed to sit in a student trustee slot at our major universities,” Ives said. “I have a problem with this. My constituents have a problem with this. Every member of this body should have a problem with having somebody who is not a legal resident of the United States sitting as a student trustee on one of our public universities. I find it outrageous, quite frankly, that you would bring forward this bill once again.”
SB598 would amend the University of Illinois Trustees Act and allow a student to be on the trustee board if he provides evidence of residency of at least six months and presents either a driver’s license/identification card or a voter’s registration card.
The bill is a revised version of SB2205, which was introduced last year but rejected by Gov. Bruce Rauner due to language that didn't include proof of residency. SB598 added the residency requirement but doesn’t specify a student’s legal citizenship status, allowing students of questionable residency to become a member of the student trustee, Ives said.
Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) argued that because the University of Illinois accepts undocumented students and their tuition payments, the status of their citizenship is not pertinent to whether they can have a voice on the board of trustees. It evens the playing field, she argued. She also noted that many of the undocumented students are on the path to full citizenship.
Hernandez reminded the floor that the bill was an initiative of the University of Illinois. Voting was contentious, with the bill missing passage by one vote, 59-44. Hernandez requested a postponed consideration.