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Halifax Community College Students Protest Budget Cuts

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WELDON, N.C. — Budget cuts are creating controversy at a Halifax County community college.

Students were on campus Tuesday at Halifax Community College to protest budget cuts that recently cost several teachers their jobs.

"I'm seeing funding being spent on things like an orchestra pit for $108,000 and there's lots of expanding going on in certain areas of the school, but reduction in classes and art for students," said Christie Weaver, a student at the college.

Ken Robol, a former communications instructor, is one of a half-dozen instructors whose contract was not renewed in a budget-cutting move.

"There's a high turnover ratio right here at HCC and our school seems to be different compared to other schools who don't seem to be experiencing the problems that other schools are going through right now," Robol said.

Student concerns, however, never reached the ears of the Board of Trustees, who met behind closed doors to discuss personnel matters.

When asked to comment on the students' concerns President Ted Gasper refused and referred questions to his staff.

HCC Financial Director Earl Daniels said budget cuts were made without knowing how much money the school would get in the state budget.

"What the students need to understand is that we're not going to start a program that we can't finish," Daniels said.

"I know for sure that students don't have anything to worry about," said Bonita Terry-Malone, a spokeswoman for the college. "We are here to take care of them and we are here to do that."

Some students said that is not a chance they are willing to take, so they will take their education to another community college.

Critics of the administration hope upcoming changes on the Board of Trustees will bring a change in leadership. Two new trustees will take office in July.


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