The University of Otago plans to cut 160 staff.
A source confirmed to the Otago Daily Times that vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne told staff of the cuts at a meeting at St David lecture theatre in Dunedin this afternoon.
It consulted with staff in July on the original plan to cut 182 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions.
The university starting reviewing support services in mid-2015 and since then staff morale has continued to sink as it became clear significant cuts were being planned.
Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott said earlier this year staff morale and stress levels were the worst he had seen in the 17 years he had been an organiser.
The husband of a staff member, who did not want to be named, said his wife knew her job was going, but she would not find out if she had a new role until May next year.
She had worked for the university for 17 years, he said.
"I sit there watching her at night time, going quiet and thinking and sometimes having a wee cry about it," he said.