Staff at the Open University are being balloted for strike action in an increasingly bitter row over cuts which will see 55 jobs axed in Birmingham.
The distance-learning educator wants to close its Harborne office as part of a wider cull of seven regional centres with the loss of 502 jobs.
A ballot over strike action has been opened today (Thursday) and closes on November 5.
The Post revealed last month that staff were being offered voluntary redundancy or relocation to a centre in either Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham or Milton Keynes.
The University and Colleges Union (UCU) has branded that "unrealistic".
The row has become increasingly bitter after the union accused the university of a "ham-fisted attempt" to drown out dissent after it demanded only ten protestors at a time were allowed into the campus's main square to lobby senate members.
UCU Open University branch president Pauline Collins said: "After yesterday's bizarre attempt to drown out dissent at the Open University, we feel we have little alternative now but to ballot for strike action.
"Despite the university's best efforts to stop us putting our case to senate members, we are delighted that they have joined us and advised against the plans for such devastating cuts.
"Axing over 500 staff across seven centres would be catastrophic to the Open University's ability to provide the kind of support that students need.
"We hope the university will now see sense and work with us to find a better solution for staff, students and the future of the Open University."
A petition against the closures has already received more than 4,600 signatures and earlier this week Bassetlaw MP John Mann tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons that opposes the closure of the regional centres.
The union said to lose such huge amounts of expertise would be a devastating blow and has questioned why so many centres were being hit at the same time.
Staff in the local offices evaluate and support students with disabilities, provide course materials, assign tutorial groups, run examination arrangements, advise on study options and manage the hugely popular degree ceremonies.
The university also plans to shut down centres in Bristol, Cambridge, Gateshead, Leeds, London and Oxford.
Last month, its vice-chancellor Peter Horrocks said the announcement followed a "difficult decision".
He added: "The OU's mission has always been about embracing innovation and providing our students with the best possible experience.
"With developments in technology changing how we work, the student's experience of the OU has not been limited by geography for some time.
"This is a difficult decision and I fully recognise the impact it will have on many of our staff but we cannot afford to stay still.
"This recommendation, if approved, would allow us to enhance student support in a way that's simply not possible in our current office network and offer our students the sort of support they expect and deserve.”