Winter Semester Slashed as BOT approves new budget.

Amy Gaskin contributed to this report. The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees approved the school's 2012-2013 budget at a meeting Thursday that included the entire elimination of the schools' winter 2013 session.

President and Superintendent Dr. Chui L Tsang said in a statement to The Corsair that the slimmer budget was based on the passing of November tax initiative Proposition 30 and that the budget didn't support a winter session. Tsang said that the board's only other options would be implementing the controversial Contract Education program.

Students and faculty contributed to the public comments portion of the meeting that lasted a majority of the evening. Students felt the reduced offerings would make transferring more difficult while. Staff members said that they felt their contracts had been violated.

In an interview with the Corsair last week, college Public Information Officer Bruce Smith said that a reduction of classes in the winter session could lead to lay-offs of classified employees.

Protesters who were involved in a much publicized pepper-spraying incident at the college's April board meeting organized about an hour before Thursday's trustee gathering to protest the austerity measures. Unofficial protest leader Michael Pronilover appeared and chanted, "No Cuts, No Fees!" Pronilover declined to comment to The Corsair.

The meeting, which started Thursday, lasted into Friday morning and was held at the college's theater to accomodate the expected crowd. Though Board Chair Margaret Quinones-Perez told the Corsair she was worried about the student's actions, the only rumblings in the actual meeting were from a nearby 3.5 earthquake early after midnight.