SA Senate seeks new speaker in elections


Student Association Speaker James Zanayed speaks at an Oct. 6 Student Association Senate meeting in the Holmes Student Center’s Skyroom. The Student Association will hold elections during this Sunday’s meeting.

By Shaz Sheikhali

The Student Association Senate will review five candidates as it looks to elect a speaker Sunday.

The SA Senate will elect its next speaker during its meeting at 6 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center. Board of Trustees members like chair John Butler and student trustee Elliot Echols will be present at the event, as will Representative Tom Demmer.

The speaker manages and represents the SA Senate. The speaker also stays in contact with the executive branch of SA and discusses objectives with the leaders there.

“I want a leader,” said Speaker James Zanayed, who is graduating. “Someone who can lead the Senate with a vision of what the Senate should continue to do. Someone who has the intangibles of being approachable [and] strong in certain times — like I said, the total package.”

Zanayed has been the speaker for about one year. Elections for SA speaker are held every semester.

Ben Donovan, District 2

Senator Ben Donovan believes he is the most qualified candidate for the position.

“If someone was running and they didn’t think that, I would question why there were running,” Donovan said.

Donovan said he has many ideas he believes will benefit SA. He is the vice chair of the Rules and Procedures Committee and author of a resolution to make NIU more bike friendly, which was passed by the SA.

Brandon Phillips, District 2

Senator Brandon Phillips said he is “easily the best candidate to take over for [Zanayed].”

Phillips said he is student-oriented, issue-oriented and aware of the problems the campus has.

“My chairmanship of university services has been instrumental in identifying what things need to be changed on this university,” Phillips said. “Examples of issues I will be fighting for, one of them is the [Disability Resource] Center.”

Phillips is in contact with Greg Long, professor and chair of the Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities, in order to find ways to fix the issues center has.

Dillon Domke, District 4

Senator Dillon Domke said he “loves” the Senate and it’s where he got his start.

“I love serving the students,” Domke said. “I’ve got a hard work ethic, and I think people realize that. It’s not so much that I want to be at the top [as] it’s just that people want me there.”

Domke started a resolution to get more bike racks. Domke said he took Facebook polls and asked bikers about the racks and where they think more are needed.

Domke is looking to get more students to run for SA.

Alonte Holliday, District 4

Senator Alonte Holliday said he has “a passion for the student centerd-ness [of SA].”

Holliday was a student orientation leader and said his experiences will make him a strong speaker. Holliday wants to unify the student body, organizations and Greek life.

Holliday said he and Senator Nathan Lupstein are in contact with Kevin Malone, SA director of Greek Affairs, to meet these goals.

“When we graduate it is all going to say ‘Northern Illinois,’” Holliday said.

Editor’s Note: Senator Cassie Dodd of District 3 could not be reached for comment.