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University of Illinois

  • Aquino: University of Illinois should provide safe space for undocumented students

    Aquino: University of Illinois should provide safe space for undocumented studentsCHICAGO — In response to the University of Illinois deciding not to become a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “Failing to protect undocumented students is regressive to our American values. The University of Illinois deciding against becoming a sanctuary campus for undocumented students sends a message that we do not support people who are working every day to invest in their future and the future of our country.

    I am saddened for the students in Illinois who are living in fear and uncertainty, and I’m disappointed that our largest public university chose not to provide a safe space for them.

    President-elect Trump’s rhetoric targets not only undocumented students, but a number of marginalized communities throughout our state and country. We must be united now more than ever, and I will continue to stand with those who feel unsafe going into the next four years.”

  • Cunningham joins U of I and pushes for higher education accountability

    cunningham 022817SPRINGFIELD – On Thursday, Senator Bill Cunningham and officials from the University of Illinois announced a new financial aid program that will be a part of the larger University of Illinois “Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment.” The goal of the commitment is to set a tuition cap and increase access to the University of Illinois for Illinois students.

    “This new program continues to drive home the fact that universities like the U of I system should be finding ways to bring real results for Illinois taxpayers,” Cunningham said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure taxpayer money being spent is doing what it is supposed to be doing, helping Illinois.”

    The legislation, Senate Bill 222, would guarantee a minimum level of funding for the University of Illinois system in return for the system meeting certain benchmarks including a tuition cap and increased access for Illinois students. The forthcoming amendment looks to help U of I achieve the goals set. If the university system were to fail their expectations the state could withhold a portion of the guaranteed funding.

    “This legislation could be a template for other universities throughout the state,” Cunningham said. “It provides stability in university planning and gives the Illinois taxpayers tangible results on how that money is being spent.”

    Senate Bill 222 is currently under consideration by the Senate’s Higher Education committee.

  • Cunningham works with U of I on new funding plan

    cunningham hiedcompCHICAGO— State Senator Bill Cunningham joined the University of Illinois in announcing a new performance and accountability initiative that will ensure full funding for the university and help hold the line on tuition increases. 

    The plan would provide the university with stable funding and some regulatory relief in exchange for meeting specific standards on student access and achievement. Some examples of standards include in-state enrollment requirements and benchmarks on graduation rates, financial aid and tuition.

    “This proposal would provide U of I with stable funding from the legislature, but it would require them to reach a number of goals to keep the funds flowing," Cunningham said. “We need real results from our universities to ensure that state resources are being properly used.”

    The plan was announced at the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago on Thursday. Cunningham will serve as the chief senate sponsor on the initiative.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • Senate passes Martinez plan to improve student trustee residency requirements

    martinez 040617SPRINGFIELD — 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.