Students picket community college following layoffs

“Cut your salary, not our staff.” That’s what students and faculty chanted Friday in front of John A Logan Community College in Carterville, Illinois.

Last week, the school’s board of trustees voted to lay off 55 people to save money during the Illinois budget impasse. But students say the cuts are hurting more than just educators.

Music rallied protesters at John A Logan College. Students like Erica Reeves have been out all week fighting the school’s recent layoffs. She says they’re slashing jobs and services the college needs.

"I have another daughter who is hearing impaired, and they’re cutting all of our interpreters at the school. So, they’re setting her up to fail," said Reeves.

Just past the picket line is the school’s sole military service coordinator, Andrea Leadingham. Her job was one of the 55 cut last week, but she says she didn’t find out through a letter like everyone else.

"But I did hear through word of mouth that I was on the list. It was very disheartening," said Leadingham.

She says she’s the only one who can certify benefits for the nearly 200 veterans studying there. She says she worries what will happen when she’s gone next semester.

"I’m afraid it’s the veterans that are going to be hurt by this, more so than I am," Leadingham said.

Fighting to save Leadingham’s job and dozens of others, Reeves says she feels like the school and the state just aren’t listening to them.

"They’re not hurting themselves. They’re hurting everybody else," Reeves said.

But she says they won’t give up their faculty without a fight.

Thirty-five teachers will be laid off at the end of the semester. The remaining 20 are expected to be laid off at the end of June.

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