Bevill State cancels town hall in Hamilton, residents show up anyway

Bevill State cancels town hall in Hamilton, residents show up anyway
(Source: WBRC Video)

HAMILTON, AL (WBRC) - Bevill State Community College is struggling with budget issues and re-evaluating the closures of some programs on several satellite campuses.

This comes after a town hall meeting in Hamilton was canceled Thursday night.

Although Bevill State issued a statement saying they're taking a second look at eliminating some of their programs after community outcry. Some folks in Hamilton said they felt blindsided by the meeting cancellation and showed up anyway.

"Three o'clock this afternoon on Facebook there's a post stating that it had been canceled and I must wonder why that is," said Hamilton resident Susan Cobb.

"What is the financial situation of the Bevill System specifically for Hamilton and those are answers we don't have at this point that we desperately need," said Marla Minter, who lives in Marion County.

Questions asked by many who came out to Bevill State in Hamilton earlier expressing their concerns to each other.

"My son just needs this kind of program and it would be devastating for us if he wouldn't be able to finish this," said Shelly Graham, who lives in Marion County.

Graham's son goes to Bevill State in Hamilton and she shares what administrators told her about the fate of the college.

"When they were telling us that they were considering closing the portion of school he was going to they were saying he would have to drive to Jaspar which is an hour away," said Graham.

Instructors could also be impacted.

"I know a few of the teachers here that teach technical and they really are about their students, "said former instructor Bryan Williams.

Residents also worry about how industrial recruitment will be affected.

"Hamilton, but Marion County, Franklin County, Winston County, Fayette County, Lamar County, much of rural Alabama would be hurt by the potential loss of these programs," said Minter.

"We work hard as mayors to get industries to get industry and grow where we have jobs here then we get wind hard hit of something like this happening and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," said Winfield mayor and business owner Randy Price.

The town hall meetings scheduled later this month at the Jasper and Fayette campuses have also been cancelled by Bevill State.

Bevill State said they are open to community and business partnerships to potentially help with their money issues.

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