Let us pause and take stock again. Through the proposed furloughs, the university aims to save about $200M, or roughly one-quarter of the $800M in cuts passed along by the State. (We do not really know where the remaining $600M are going to come from.) Now, although $800M is a big chunk of the money coming to the University from the State (about $3.6B, give or take), it is only 4% of the University's overall budget of about $20B, and the
The overall sense then is that, huge as the University's budget might be (and it is about the size of Serbia's GDP), State funds represent an increasingly small percentage of it — but it's percentage that directly pays for faculty and staff salaries.
In light of the State's dire economic situation, higher education is the wrong place to cut. The State's contribution to higher education has already been steadily cut over the past twenty years or so, by 40% on a per-student basis, at a time when the prison budget went from $5B to $11B.