Both student members of the Southern Illinois University board of trustees would have the opportunity to vote on academic and institutional matters under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville.
“My legislation would allow for students from both SIU campuses to have a voice on matters that directly affect them and their peers,” said Stuart. “In the past, there have been matters affecting the Edwardsville campus that the Carbondale student got to vote on and vice versa. We have also had governors that used their power to designate the single vote to one of the students in such a way as to influence decisions on funding, and this legislation would put an end to that inequity.”
While student trustees are elected in campus-wide elections on both SIU campuses, only one student member of the board of trustees has voting privileges in any given year. Although the voting privilege typically alternates between students, the governor does have the power to give either student the opportunity to vote. Stuart’s House Bill 2239, which passed out of the House Higher Education Committee on Wednesday, allows both student trustees to be voting members, removing the ability of the governor to unfairly assign voting privileges to one student over the other.
“From my conversations with students at SIUE, I understand that having a voice on the board of trustees is important to them,” said Stuart. “Students really have a stake in every decision that comes before the board, so it only makes sense that they should each have a vote that counts.”