Save Our VCC campaign launches after layoffs at Vancouver Community College

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      This week, Vancouver Community College is marking its 50th anniversary.

      Indeed, Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson issued a statement congratulating the postsecondary school on the milestone.

      "Vancouver Community College was established in 1965 by bringing together a number of local schools, programs, institutes and centres. It is the oldest community college in British Columbia, and more than 17,000 students come to study at Vancouver Community College each year," Wilkinson stated on September 17.

      "The college has evolved over the years to meet student and employer demand. It continues to build important partnerships and culturally diverse community relationships at its two main campuses, Broadway and Downtown."

      Happy 50th anniversary, VCC.

      But not everyone's celebrating at VCC.

      A campaign called Save Our VCC has launched in a response to layoff notices given to 52 teachers and support workers in August.

      According to the campaign, cuts to ESL and adult education programs have resulted in more than 120 layoffs in the past two years.

      “VCC is Vancouver’s most affordable community college, giving a hand up to thousands who might not otherwise get the education they need,” Chris Joyce, president of CUPE Local 4627, VCC’s employees’ union, said in a news release dated September 16. “It’s a job creating machine, and it just doesn’t make any sense to put it on the chopping block.”

      The campaign is warning of more cuts to come over the next year.

      “It feels like death by a thousand cuts,” Ghezal Durrani, a director of the Students' Union of Vancouver Community College, stated in the release. “VCC does so much good for so many people; now we all need to speak up and defend it.”

      Save Our VCC, which asserts that the college is "under threat from special interests seeking to profit from its destruction", is asking the public to sign its online petition to Premier Christy Clark.