HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The union representing staff members at Connecticut State Community College held a rally on Tuesday to discuss “devastating” budget cuts that are expected to go into effect next month.

Students and faculty say the state community college system is facing a “crisis” at the start of the new school year.

“These reductions have a direct impact on students, constituting as an assault on those from low income, working class, immigrant, black and brown backgrounds,” said Jasmine Lall, a Capital Community College student. “ I refuse to accept these cuts as inevitable. We have reserves fund that can restore what has been taken away – funds that can reignite the spark of possibilities for our students.”

Students and staff members at Connecticut State Community College shared their thoughts on the looming budget cuts.

“Connecticut State Community College is opening its door this fall and Connecticut State Community College is already failing our students and failing our state,” said Seth Freeman, president of The 4Cs SEIU 1973.

The 4Cs SEIU 1973 represents the staff members at Connecticut State Community College. According to the union, the budget cuts include:

  • The elimination of cafeteria services
  • The reduction of tutoring services
  • Cutting library staff and weekend hours
  • Reducing disability and ESL services

“We are the most rich state, in the richest country in the world – and we have a surplus of millions of dollars that our state governor is not willing to use to address the critical needs in our community,” said Costanza Segovia, member of the Hartford Deportation Defense.

The rally comes just weeks after the state’s 12 community colleges merged into one, on July 1.

Union members are calling on Gov. Ned Lamont and state lawmakers to tap into the state’s $130 million dollar reserve to avoid those cuts.

“I want to do everything I can to work with my leadership, and colleagues in the legislature and the governor’s office – to try to get them that commitment and get them that funding that they need to cover all of their operating costs going forward,” State Rep. Gary Turco (D- District 27) said.

 Connecticut State Community College released a statement that reads in part:

“All of the public colleges and universities are facing tight budgets this year…. CT State is not eliminating services like tutoring, library, disability services, or other things that make for a positive college experience. At all times, the priority is the student.”