A group of students at NSCAD University are protesting the layoffs of some staff members at the school.

On Thursday at lunchtime, the students were lying on the ground on campus to mourn the loss of the staffers.

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) says that 16 of its members at NSCAD University have been laid off.

The cuts affect nine custodians, six administrative assistants and one clerk at the Halifax university.

The NSGEU said the university plans to contract out the custodial work and eliminate the other positions.

On its website, university President Dianne Taylor-Gearing said the cuts were needed to balance the budget as it has consistently faced budget shortfalls in recent years. She also said the university has reorganized other administrative support positions to make up for the eliminated positions.

In her posting, Taylor-Gearing did not say how many positions were cut.