Patrick Acosta II. Courtesy photo

Five candidates, including three incumbents and two newcomers, are vying for four open seats on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. All five candidates were sent the same questions and given a rough word count within which to provide their written responses.

Each day this week, the Daily Press will print the responses of one candidate. Today we hear from newcomer Patrick Acosta II, whose answers are below.

Why would you like to be on the College Board?

Born and raised in Santa Monica, I am a proud product of SMMUSD. After graduating from Samohi in 2011, I attended SMC as a student-athlete, received 2 AA Degrees and transferred to UCLA. I have always looked to get further involved with SMC. I want to continue advocating for expanded programs dedicated to our community and local students that are ready to make the jump to SMC.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position?

As I mentioned before, I am a homegrown product of Santa Monica. If I am not mistaken, I would be the only Trustee that actually had the experience of making the jump from Samohi to SMC and on to a four-year university. With that said, I feel that I can bring that experience to issues that the Board deals with. As well, I have served the past several years on the SMC Citizen Bond Oversight Committee.

How do you think the College handled Covid? Is there anything you would have done differently / you wished had gone differently?

At the end of the day, the College did what it had to do at the time. At this point, I believe the campus should be back at 100% capacity. If you do not want to go to in-person classes, the College offers great online availability.

Do you support adding more four-year programs, and what programs might those be?

I am not against additional educational offerings; however, I am looking to take care of our community needs first. If the College were looking to use the current infrastructure and resources for additional offerings, then those would have to be further analyzed and discussed.

How big of a priority for you is local enrollment? What about other programs that benefit Santa Monica (and Malibu) specifically?

Local enrollment is a huge priority to me. I believe that there should be programs that are offered at Santa Monica and Malibu should be equally distributed.

Do you support the new SMC bond? Why or why not?

At this point in time, I do NOT support the new SMC bond. I believe that everything going into the new bond needs to be reassessed and discussed further. Especially after enrollment numbers declined during COVID times. The College has been building non-stop for years, and while most of the improvements have been great for our community, when is enough going to be enough. We already paid for that. Let’s not forget, this is a COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

Where would you like to see the College in 10 years?

The College is a great educational institution. I would really like to continue seeing the college offer great educational offerings, athletic programs, performing arts programs and emeritus offerings. As well, let’s take care of our residents first, and mainly our SMMUSD students who are ready to make the jump to College. Let’s put “Community” back in Santa Monica Community College.