A shake up at the University of Otago could see close to 200 general staff lose their jobs.
More than 180 positions are set to go as the university looks to streamline a number of support service jobs.
Vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne revealed the plan at a meeting today at the College of Education auditorium, was streamed to its campuses around New Zealand.
The 500-seat auditorium was packed to the rafters, leaving some staff to learn of their fate in a nearby lecture room.
Hayne said the cuts and changes to the way general staff operated were needed if the university was to maintain its "environment of excellence''.
The cuts were not as extreme as rumours 300 job would go, but Tertiary Education Union Dunedin organiser Shaun Scott said the union was shocked at the depth of the cuts, which would be massive blow for those who lose their jobs.
"It's a huge hit on the families, the communities they live in, and on Dunedin,'' Scott said.
A final decision on whether the cuts will go ahead will be made in September.
If the business case is accepted, around 182 people will be without a job by this time next year.