Student Trustee position needs to be a voting position

Adisa Ozegovic, Media Manager

At every important decision point of the school, the students and their perspectives are critical. The administration and faculty continually strive to determine actions that will positively impact the student body. 

The Board of Trustees is also critical in this decision-making process. The student trustee, the student representative who sits on the Board and serves as a trustee, is devoted to ensuring that the student perspective is explicitly identified and explained to the entire Board during deliberation.

The function of the student trustee’s vote is to establish what the student perspective would essentially be: whether the students would be in favor of the decision or not. However, the student trustee holds only an advisory role; this means that the vote of the student itself holds no legitimate power in the final vote. 

Because of this, the vote is not seriously taken into consideration and only serves to provide a general idea of student opinions. 

Other community colleges throughout Illinois have started initiatives to reform the student trustee position into that of a voting position. 

In 2019, Lewis and Clark College faced outrage after newly-elected trustees voted against renewing the previous President’s contract. In this deliberation, there was a standstill wherein half of the trustees were in favor of keeping the President while others were opposed. 

The student trustee, April Tulgetske, who maintains only an advisory role, voted in favor of the President, essentially noting that the student body was in favor of keeping the existing President. However, this vote was not taken into account because of its advisory role. As a result House Bill 3944 was created, with the intention of updating the position to one with full voting power. 

If Oakton is truly devoted to the students, if students are really critical and at the forefront of every decision made by the administration, it is critical that the student trustee position, a position that is essentially within the administration, should be a legitimate voting position. Thus, it is essential that Oakton be in favor of Bill 3944 to further this process and continue to make student opinions a priority within the institution.