ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Community College plans to cut nearly 100 jobs after a night of intense protests.
The college’s governing board approved a series of budget reduction proposals on Thursday. The proposals include a voluntary buyout, suspension of sabbaticals, changes to benefits and the contested layoffs of as many as 70 faculty and 25 staff members, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
The meeting was halted minutes before the vote when protesters lay on the floor in front of the board and started shouting, “Justice for faculty.” The protest continued for nearly an hour before the board proceeded to vote.
College Chancellor Jeff Pittman said the decision to lay faculty off was difficult but necessary. College administrators have said the cuts address ongoing budget issues from losing more than 10,000 students since 2011 and multiple reductions in state funding, most recently a nearly $3.6 million cut to the current budget year.
Faculty members have released statements in recent weeks saying that Pittman and his staff have been closed off to alternative solutions that the National Education Association brought forward. They also said the campus community wasn’t given a proper say in the processes that led to the budget proposals.
“I think the board has seen the extent to which students will go to protect their educational interests,” said Emily Neal, vice president of the college’s NEA chapter.
A statement from the college said that affected employees would be told by March 1 and that “their roles will continue through the end of the academic year in May 2018.”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com