Governor J.B. Pritzker Visits SIUE: Giving a Voice Back to Students

“Student voices matter for the future of the state of Illinois.”—Governor J.B. Pritzker

Representative Katie Stuart & Governor J.B. Pritzker

Changes are well on the way for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with legislation that will give voices back to the students of the University. On Jul. 30, Governor J.B. Pritzker came to campus to sign a bill regarding the SIU System Student Trustees. The legislation–House Bill 2239–provides that both student members of the Board of Trustees of SIU will be full voting members.

What does that really translate to though? The bill will give power back to students on both SIU campuses, ensuring that they have the right to vote on every issue that they represent. “Student input is needed now more than ever. In recent years, nearly half of nearly half of Illinois’ high schools students have left Illinois to attend college and universities in other states,” Pritzker stated. He expressed optimism in confronting the statistics, “Seventy-percent of those who decide to go to schools outside of the state of Illinois will never come back…that means that they will work, they will build businesses, they will start families in other states, and that is a tremendous loss for the state of Illinois.” With the new bill Pritzker hopes to reverse this damage and begin turning a tide that has been adversely affecting the state for over twenty years now.

In addition to signing this bill, Pritzker elaborated more on his $45 billion Capital Plan, Rebuild Illinois. With the plan, Pritzker plans to allocate three billion dollars towards higher education stating that both Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses will receive major investments from the bill. “Nearly 200 million dollars will go towards a new health sciences building here in Edwardsville,” he stated and continued, “That’s on top of 93 million dollars in new funding for reconstruction and renewal at the two campuses, plus the medical school. When we are finished SIU will be the envy of other Midwestern universities and we will have restored and enhanced the beauty and glory of this great institution.”

Pritzker was joined by SIU System President Kevin Dorsey, members of the SIU Board of Trustees including Chair Phil Gilbert, Vice Chairman Ed Hightower, Trustee John Simmons, and Student Trustee Brione Lockett, along with members of the SIUE legislative delegation. The bill was sponsored by Representative Katie Stuart & Senator Rachelle Crowe and is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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