AS Elections 2016: Meet Presidential candidate Terrance Ware
As the current vice president, former treasurer and ICC representative of Black Collegians Club (BCC), Terrance Ware Jr., 19, has a bit of a track record of being a leader. “I’ve been a captain for every [sports] team that I’ve ever played for,” Ware said. “I like leadership. I like to be in a position where I can make sure everyone is on the same page... I feel like AS (Associated Student) president is the next step because I feel as though I’ve done a lot for Black Collegians,” Ware said. “I feel that there’s more that can be done for not only Black Collegians but for our entire student body here.”
Ware is an LA native from South Central. Coming from a place that he describes as providing “little opportunity,” Ware wants to make sure the students have theirs.
“The real reason for me to run for president this year is the lack of opportunity,” Ware said. “I feel as though a lot of opportunities that we offer here on campus seem to be [spread by] word of mouth, and they seem like only a few people know about them.”
Last summer Ware traveled to Washington D.C. through SMC’s Accounting Scholars Development Program. After returning home and hearing from fellow students amazed by this opportunity, Ware felt that someone needed to get the word out about such programs. From opportunities as large as scholarships and traveling, to those as seemingly small as the free scantrons in the AS Office, Ware spoke about how he wants to raise awareness about these opportunities within the student body.
“Speaking based off of my background, a lot of people in the community that I live in... see opportunity but they don’t know what to do with it,” Ware said. “Because a lot of times, most of their lives, they weren’t presented with great opportunities. So when they see a good opportunity they don’t really know how to act on it, where to go or who to talk to, or they may see some qualifications that makes them feel like, ‘Oh no, I’m not gonna do it.’”
"Little do students know," Ware says, "Programs like these often overlook many listed 'requirements' due to a lack of applicants, and that opportunities are more available than they appear to be."
“That’s a big issue for me,” Ware said. “I mean, who’s to say that everyone should be a hunter? Who’s to say that everyone should have to go out and hunt for opportunities? We’re an educational facility that wants to offer the best education possible. We say on the radio, we say on the news, we say everywhere that we’re the number one transfer school, yet we’re not doing the number one things.”
Painting a big picture, Ware said that if elected he will prioritize getting efficient parking, cleaner restrooms, peer counseling and free metro rides for students.
Ware is campaigning with the "Fresh Start" slate, a group candidate platform created and fronted by Ware.
“We really want for more student involvement on campus,” Ware said. “We want to close the gap with the AS and the clubs. Close the gaps between the AS and the student. We want to make sure that all of our students here are seeing all opportunities that are offered here on campus and not just select students.”
The slate includes candidates Laura Zwicker as Student Trustee, Sharon Nat for Sustainability, Orlando Gonzalez in Budget Management, Dane Cruz as Secretary, Walther Perez for Student Advocacy and Jazzmin Sardin in Student Assistance.
“We are all pretty much leaving our respective clubs to make a Fresh Start at the AS board of directors,“ Ware said. “Everyone comes to community college for a fresh start. So that’s how we came up with the theme. We were like, ‘Wait, it’s a fresh start to a new year. It’s a fresh start to a new lifestyle.’ It’s a fresh start to a lot of things.”
Under Fresh Start and Ware’s leadership, he said students can expect more fiscally responsible budgeting. As an accounting major and an intern at Board of Trustees member Barry Snell’s accounting firm, Ware feels ready to take on AS’ budget, which stands as one of the largest in the country for a community college.
“I deal with large lump sums of money now, ranging from around $200,000 to about $8 million, so I can pretty much budget money,” Ware said. “I plan to be really responsible and actually take charge in it because I know I feel like that’s the only way things will actually get done. I feel like that we would be able to allocate this money correctly and put it to the proper resources that we need to advance our school to the next level.”
Concerning the specifics of his budget proposal, Ware has none worked out — yet. Ware said, “[The AS Board of Directors] told me, ‘get elected first and then it will be a lot easier to understand’. That’s just kind of what I was told.”
Outside of student-centric problems, Ware said the biggest issue at SMC is the low percentage of full-time to adjunct (part-time) faculty.
“I didn’t realize how much it actually hindered me until I thought about it,” Ware said. “A lot of our professors here who are part-time don’t have office hours. Office hours are very critical to our success. I mean, I don’t think that we’re going to be able to stay the number one transfer school if we don’t have office hours. Our students are supposed to succeed.”
This issue goes beyond the classroom, Ware said. It also affects students’ abilities to participate in extracurriculars.
“In order to be a club, you have to have a full time faculty to be your advisor," Ware said. "How can we establish more clubs if there’s not enough full time faculty? The sad part is, a lot of our faculty would actually like to be a part of these clubs but they can’t because they’re not full time.”
Ware wants administration to look at the issue from the students' collective perspective.
“I think the administration sees the issue,” Ware said. “I don’t think they feel the issue. As in, we feel it. Students on the back end feel these things because they’re things that we have to feel every day. They’re things that we have to go through. I think the administration, on the other hand, does not necessarily have to feel these things. They are full time faculty.”
Though tenure is an administration and faculty issue at its core, Ware is planning to take action.
“One big thing that I’ve been thinking of is we can get a school wide petition started from every student,” Ware said. “If we can get every student that is enrolled here to sign this petition, we want to send it up to the Senator Ben Allen and see if we can take action from this petition. The state law actually does require that there’s supposed to be 75-25 as far as full time faculty and part time faculty. So the requirement is actually there, yet the problem is that there’s no actual time limit on when to do so. So our administration is kind of like ‘Well yeah, we’ll do it. We’ll have 75-25 by 2050.’ I mean, 2050? Students will be gone and then we might not be the number one community college anymore.”
Ware’s solution to solving issues is not to fight administration, but to rather have the student body work alongside them.
“A lot of times the two kind of see each other as enemies,” Ware said. “When you hear people talking about these things, they kind of sound like they’re fighting. ‘Administration wants this and student body government wants that.’ But in the end, we all really want our students' best success. That’s really what we want. So I think first recognizing that we all have the same goals and actually seeing our school as an educational facility and not a business.”