The new Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees member Tom Peters was officially sworn in on Dec. 5. A first-time Trustee, Peters says he is very familiar with its members and practices. He went to hundreds of Board meetings while he was a member of the Student Affairs Committee, Faculty Association Executive Board, and the Center for Student with Disabilities’ Scholarship Committee.

“I’m not new to the Board, I’m new on the Board. So I think I have a nice advantage of just being able to meld in with them and get things done right out of the gate,” Peters said.

Before retiring in 2020, his efforts as a faculty member included leading a Departmental Accessibility team to visit classrooms and promote accessibility and ‘universal design.’ This practice aims to make classroom and online materials accessible to all students.

Peters ran as a candidate who supported Measure SMC, which was also on the November ballot. The measure allows the Santa Monica College District to issue $375 million in bonds that will go to facility renovations. According to Peters, these renovations are key to SMC continuing its services for students after the effect COVID-19 had on students’ academic performance.

“Once we get the classrooms up to more that kind of technology that really make whether you’re at home or in the classroom a rich experience, that’s revolutionary as well,” Peters said.

Peters said that even though SMC has the highest ratio of counselors to students in the California Community College system, 300 students per counselor, the counseling department could use more resources due to traumatic times that pandemic caused students who are returning to classrooms.

The fall 2022 semester is the first time many students are back for in-person instruction since the COVID-19 pandemic forced all classes to be held online. However, most of the courses that SMC offers have a hybrid option, which Peters believes should continue for the betterment of students.

“Why not have the best of both worlds?” he said.

With all of his Santa Monica community experience, Peters says there won’t be many “growing pains” as he works with the Board, this time as a Trustee.

By Saige Washington & Emma Krul, Special to the Daily Press. Saige Washington & Emma Krul are part of the SMC Corsair student newspaper.