In a letter to staff, university president Frits Pannekoek says the temporary layoffs are needed to "achieve budget reduction targets."
He says the university is going through a difficult time, and there could be more layoffs.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says it will challenge the layoffs at the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
The union says the layoffs will hurt the employees and the Town of Athabasca, where the university's headquarters is located.
The union says the layoffs follow the elimination of 70 jobs at the university as the school struggles to cut $4 million from its budget.
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