By Latricia Wilson
On the Roosevelt University website, the Board of Trustees page includes a list of names placed under the following categories: officers, public members and honorary trustees. In absence of any description of the trustees’ duties or what committees they are on, student trustees argue that the Board of Trustees has strong responsibilities at the university.
According to student trustees, the Board of Trustees invest in Roosevelt and play a role in deciding the university’s future.
“The board works with the administration to make sure the students are served with their best interest in mind,” said Christopher Mich, student trustee and executive member of the Student Government Association.
Mich said a lot of trustees donate funds to the university to ensure Roosevelt has resources to do what it seeks to do.
Student trustees said their role on the board is to offer a student perspective and participate in the “larger strategy.”
“People are shocked that we have not only one, but two student trustees on our board, and they’re given full speaking and voting rights just like anybody else,” said Ari Shroyer, former student trustee.
Shroyer said student trustees stand out because the university allows students on the board, even though it is not required to have student participation, as a private institution.
Shroyer, who plans to be a “policy wonk” in international politics, said that student trustees keep the Board of Trustees in tune with the needs of the student body.
“As students, we know what’s going on day in and day out, and with that information, we have to be able to provide information to board members who are not in classrooms day in and day out,” Shroyer said. “It’s part of the student trustees’ responsibility to flesh out what the student experience has been like.”
Shroyer also said student trustees, along with other Board of Trustees members, make sure
“‘CEO Dr. Middleton’ is managing the organization well.”
Student trustees are given important managing responsibilities due to the principles the school was founded on, according to Shroyer.
“Our school was founded on democratic principles, and that’s Roosevelt’s legacy to bring every stakeholder to the table,” Shroyer said.
He said other colleges will not be around in 10 years if they do not adopt the legacy of student involvement in decisions made by the executive administration, as Roosevelt has.
“If Roosevelt wants to be successful in this new educational environment, they are gonna have to keep responding to us,” he said.
Responding to students and embracing a diverse student body is a social justice concept that attracted Senior Vice Chair Melvin Katten to the board.
Katten has been a Roosevelt Trustee for nearly 27 years, although he never attended Roosevelt as a student.
The founding partner of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP said the student body brings quality information to university administration.
“Student trustees so far have been quality guys and gals, and we learn from them because they can speak up and say from their perspective what may be favorable and what may be unfavorable,” Katten said.