Student trustee looks to focus on enrollment, campus life issues

By Leah Nicolini

Student Trustee James Zanayed has been sworn into the Board of Trustees as a voting member, representing the student body for the remainder of the spring semester.

Zanayed, a third-year law student, was nominated and approved by the Student Association in order to replace former student trustee Raquel Chavez who resigned at the beginning of the semester. Zanayed was sworn in at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The Board of Trustees was established in January 1996 in an act by the Illinois General Assembly. There are a total of eight voting members, seven are appointed by the governor and serve 6-year terms. The eighth member is a student elected by the student body for a one-year term.

Zanayed said he will focus on topics involving enrollment and campus life issues because enrollment impacts the well-being of the university and campus life topics are directly dealing with the student body he represents.

Robert Kreml, SA Senate deputy speaker, said Zanayed should focus on finances considering the current state budget impasse.

The Illinois state budget has not been approved for Fiscal Year 2016. Without a finalized budget, the state cannot appropriate funds to NIU or MAP grants.

The student trustee replacement process resulted in the passing of an amendment to Article II Section 7 of the bylaws of the Board of Trustees which allows the SA to appoint a student trustee for the board to review and approve.

Zanayed approved all motions during Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting including the reduction of the cost of Lucinda Avenue extension repairs, the capping of the student health insurance fee at $1,045 per semester and the approval of deans for the College of Education and the College of Business.

Zanayed said that as the student trustee elected by the students, he must represent the students, while keeping the overall well-being of NIU in mind.

“I will admit, when I heard it was [Zanayed up for approval], I was hesitant because we were replacing a [first-year law student] with a [third-year law student],” Kreml said. “I have to say I’m very impressed with [Zanayed] and how he has handled himself. In these few months [left in his term], I think he’s going to be active in setting up the position for the next student trustee.”