A 'legacy of mismanagement' has been blamed for the plans to make senior staff redundant and scrap a number of courses at the University of Wolverhampton.
Bosses have claimed changes to the Faculty of Arts are needed to slash costs for the upcoming academic year, with savings of £1.5 million expected.
But Dr Catherine Lamond, chairwoman of the University and College Union's negotiating committee, said: "It's causing a huge amount of worry and upset. We think this has happened because of a legacy of mismanagement.
"We are worried that the prospect of losing large numbers of staff will have a really damaging impact on the student experience.
"It's just to save money for the future. We are not convicted that the plan will achieve that aim."
Plans could see the faculty re-organised into three schools, which will be known as Wolverhampton School of Art, School of Humanities and School of Performing Arts.
A total of nine courses will be scrapped, while 11 will be suspended for the next year, due to low student numbers.
It is understood more than 20 jobs are under threat, while alternative courses will be offered to students affected.
A document sent to staff and seen by the Express & Star said: "We cannot afford the current breadth of provision as the running costs are too great and outweigh the income generated."
Employees - based at the Wolverhampton and Walsall campuses - are said to have been 'in tears', with a source claiming staff 'overwhelming voted' for a motion of no confidence in the faculty's management.
It comes just weeks after it was revealed jobs were under threat within the university's student support and wellbeing team.
University vice-chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said current students and new applicants affected by the review had been contacted.
He added: “In common with all universities, Wolverhampton has seen a decline in demand for courses in the arts.
"The university instigated a strategic review at the start of the 2018 academic year and following that review proposals have now been put forward to restructure the Faculty of Arts, reduce management costs and reshape the faculty’s staffing profile to match its student numbers.
"As courses are reviewed, a new staffing structure will be implemented to support the changes and we are looking, wherever possible, to avoid compulsory redundancy.
“We remain hugely ambitious and will continue with our strategic projects and investments for growth across the university and the region and will be looking, wherever possible, to future proof the university for years to come.”