Bosses at the University of Stirling have warned they cannot rule out compulsory redundancies as a way of meeting "future challenges".
The announcement follows a meeting of the university court to discuss future spending amid moves to cut £4.4m from the university's budget.
During the meeting staff gathered outside to warn management against initiating compulsory redundancies.
About 130 staff at the university have agreed to take voluntary severance.
Senior deputy principal Neil Keeble said that over the summer, the university had managed to avoid a £4.4m deficit through cost savings and income generating measures.
He added: "We have managed without recourse to compulsory redundancies so far.
"However, to enable us to invest in future developments and growth, we must ensure all areas of the university are positioned to meet future challenges.
"So redundancy remains a final contingency, but one we aim to avoid and we want to work constructively with the campus unions on this."
Earlier, more than a hundred staff had gathered outside the meeting to protest at potential staff cuts.
In a leaflet handed out by the University and Colleges Union, Unison and the Unite union, staff were warned that despite being in surplus, managers at the university were determined to shed more jobs.
The unions said "at least" 174 workers would be shed, including cleaners and IT support for students.
The leaflet said: "Now with its budget in surplus they are planning compulsory redundancies for early 2010 which will further reduce staff numbers, increase workloads, reduce support to students and increase the staff-student support ratio."
It added that staff at the university had "lost faith in senior management".
Elaine Smith MSP, who has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament against redundancies, added: " I urge the university to curb any further redundancies.
"The cut in jobs is by no way reflective of the reduction in funding and is unnecessarily ruthless."