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Undocumented Students Remain Ineligible To Serve On University Of Illinois Board Of Trustees


A veto from Gov. Bruce Rauner means undocumented students attending the University of Illinois are not eligible for certain leadership roles.

Big decisions at the U of I are made by the school's Board of Trustees, most of whom are appointed by the governor.

But students at each of the three campuses -- in Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana -- elect one of their peers to serve as a student trustee (one of these student trustees, chosen on a rotating basis, gets voting rights, equal to the weight of the vote of a regular, appointed member).

Turns out, a student interested in running for the job was disqualified. He was an immigrant without legal status.

That led Senator Iris Martinez, a Chicago Democrat, to pass legislation to prevent that from happening again, by easing the requirements to be considered an "Illinois resident."

But Rauner says the change would have made the requirements so loose, someone could live on campus for six months and be considered an Illinois resident. He vetoed the bill, saying the U of I is a public school, supported by taxpayers, so having an in-state student on the board of trustees is a priority.

Martinez says she'll work to override the veto, but that would require at least 10 lawmakers to reverse their original position on the proposal.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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