The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Urbana residents debate election referenda at Cunningham board meeting


Cunningham Township’s annual board meeting was held at the Urbana City Council Chambers on Tuesday. Registered voters of Urbana decided whether two advisory referenda should be placed on the ballot during the presidential election in November. 

Cunningham Township is coterminous with the City of Urbana, meaning that the boundaries of the two are exactly the same but they operate two separate governments over the same region, each with distinct functions and responsibilities. 

Urbana handles comprehensive services like public safety, infrastructure and urban planning, while Cunningham Township provides personalized support, including emergency financial aid, food and health services, assistance for seniors and youth as well as community grants.

At this year’s annual board meeting, Township supervisor Danielle Chynoweth delivered a presentation about their work in the last year. Chynoweth disclosed their 2023 fiscal year financial statement, which included hundreds of thousands of dollars in general assistance given to numerous families in Urbana.

The meeting’s agenda proposed two non-binding advisory policy referendums for constituents to vote for, which, if passed, would appear on the ballot in Urbana in this year’s election: 

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“Shall the City of Urbana adopt a policy whereby the City shall not invest in any fossil fuel company or any subsidiary, affiliate, or parent of any fossil fuel company?”

“Shall the United States federal government and subordinate divisions stop giving military funding to Israel, which currently costs taxpayers $3.8 billion a year, given Israel’s global recognition as an apartheid regime with a track record of human rights violations?”

The first proposal passed, with 83 votes in favor and 29 against. The second proposal also passed, with 76 votes in favor and 40 against. Both questions are set to appear on the Urbana ballot in November. 

Several registered voters of Urbana attended the meeting to discuss and debate the implications of the referenda, particularly the second one.

“I wake up every day, reading the news, learning about more people who’ve died with the weapons that I’ve paid for in Gaza,” one constituent said. 

Another voter voiced that the referendum included a “blatant piece of propaganda,” and that its inclusion on an official ballot was a “step towards fascism.”

Last month, the Urbana City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution that called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. The resolution came after months of protest and vocal opposition to U.S. military aid to Israel by community members and organizations. 

33,000 people have reportedly been killed since Israel began their assault on Gaza last October, following the militant organization Hamas’ invasion of Israel on October 7 which killed nearly 1,200 Israeli citizens and foreign nationals, with another 253 people taken hostage. 

Tensions around the issue have risen since January, when the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s actions in Gaza may “plausibly” amount to violations of the Genocide Convention, and called for provisional measures to be taken by the Israeli government to minimize the suffering of people in Gaza. 

The court further ruled last month that the situation in Gaza has “deteriorated further, in particular in view of the prolonged and widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities,” and indicated additional provisional measures for Israel to abide by.

“We need to think about what kind of society we want to live in,” one constituent remarked. “It should be one that feeds people and provides housing, not one that kills and displaces people.”


[email protected] 

More to Discover
ILLordle: Play now