Academics at University College London fear that a wave of compulsory redundancies is about to hit their institution.
Malcolm Grant, UCL provost, said that he intended to cut the number of teaching posts by 5 per cent for each of the next three years to reduce the college's £7.5 million budget deficit.
It had been hoped that enough staff would volunteer for early retirement or severance packages to avoid redundancies.
But according to union officials, a maximum of 87 staff have asked to leave - which is 38 short of the number necessary for a 5 per cent cut this year.
They say that, in total, 375 staff will need to leave over the three years.
A UCL source, who did not wish to be named, said: "It appears that the plans to cut posts by 15 per cent are not going as well for management as they had hoped."
Richard Bruckdorfer, president of the UCL branch of the Association of University Teachers, said: "We don't believe that there is any need for staff to be made redundant.
"The rate at which staff are coming forward to apply for voluntary severance or early retirement should be perfectly acceptable (to management)."
"The financial situation at the college is not the staff's fault anyway,"
Mr Bruckdorfer added.
It has been rumoured that the axe is most likely to fall on UCL's medical school, with the Division of Infection and Immunity and the Medical Illustration Unit thought to be at particular risk.
UCL, which was closed for most of this week, was unable to offer comment.