By Aubrey Byron, News Editor

At a board meeting held Thursday night, the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees approved a plan to lay off 70 faculty and 25 staff members. The meeting was open to the public and was heavily attended by those in opposition of the cuts.

Students protested the planned cuts by interrupting the meeting and chanting “justice for faculty.” Five students laid on the floor in front of the board for the protest.

At first, the Chancellor and board left the room without addressing students protesting. After about an hour, they returned and began taking votes in a huddle. Notably the public and even reporters could not hear or engage in the votes because the board had their backs turned to the public.

Ashley Jost, education reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, tweeted “They’re voting. I don’t know what they’re voting on. I currently cannot bring you the news.”

Despite vocal protest from students and some faculty, the board approved the proposed cuts. The measures approved include voluntary buyouts, changes to benefits, and most controversially the layoff of at least 70 faculty and 25 staff members. Chancellor Jeff Pittman called the cuts difficult but necessary. However, many faculty claim they had proposed other cuts that were not considered before the layoffs.

The board has not yet announced plans for adjunct professors.