A major faculty restructure at the University of Wollongong has academics and students alike fearing "many job cuts".
Georgine Clarsen, the UOW branch president of the National Tertiary Education Union, said hardworking professional and admin staff will be the first and hardest hit.
"This latest restructure is one of an endless series over the last few years. We have seen it many times before," Ms Clarsen said.
We say again to our VC. This is a public institution. Not your private company. Open the books. Let's decide together what is needed.
"Teaching casuals are already fearing the worst. It is devastating when colleagues are forced to compete against each other for fewer jobs. There will be job losses and massive pain and a toxic work environment.
"This is a disaster, particularly for the many insecure staff at UOW, who right now are reading in the media that they may be terminated in a most callous way.
"We say again to our VC. This is a public institution. Not your private company. Open the books. Let's decide together what is needed."
UOW went in-house on Thursday to reject the notion many jobs could be lost now that it will move from five to four faculties.
This is despite the fact a day earlier the university ignored Mercury questions about how many jobs would be lost - after UOW announced the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts would cease to exist, with its component schools being absorbed into other areas.
The move will cut costs after the financial king-hit delivered by the coronavirus lockdown to universities heavily reliant on international students.
Nevertheless on Thursday UOW chief operating officer Damien Israel told UOW TV the reshuffle had little to do with cost-cutting.
He also said there would be no major job losses.
"There's a lot of reporting that I've read online about major job loss and things like that. I just want to make it clear that that's not the case," Mr Israel said.
Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) education officer Robin Pierson said the move was appalling.
"Universities like UOW have no problem cutting things like the arts and social sciences because they're not as profitable as engineering, which gets a lot of private money," Pierson said.
"We think it is so appalling that universities have remained these institutions for profit rather than education.
"Students and staff are the ones who will bear the brunt of this economic crisis unless management step up and come up with other ways to recoup the shortfalls.
"I think the university's response as well as the student union and faculty union should be about pressuring the government to fund universities better, rather than just leaving us out to dry and forcing students to be the ones to have to pay for it."