Students, residents and children joined staff at Tower Hamlets College, in east London, last week to protest against possible redundancies, writes Alan Thomson. More than 40 full-time posts and student numbers are under threat.
Michael Farley, the principal, said that maintaining the current number of student places was not sustainable when the Learning and Skills Council was reducing funding.
The University and College Union acknowledged the financial pressures facing the college but called its proposals a "huge overreaction". It said the number of places on the Skills for Life programme would be more than halved.
The union said the cuts flew in the face of government calls to prioritise English for speakers of other languages (Esol) and fund courses for vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.
John Budis, a UCU member who teaches Esol, said: "This is really going to hit the people who most need our help."
Mr Farley said commitment to the community remained a priority but the LSC cuts were outside his control. Consultation on the proposals ends on July 6.