My advice. Make a concerted effort to publicize the value of pure research, and also make a good faith effort to teach classes that are valued by the university and that generate revenue. I.e. try to spend some time producing money which they always value, and try also to educate them to the value of what you love to do that they do not value.
I.e. the argument could be: if you cut us you will lose money as well as prestige. Moreover in future when times are better and you try to resurrect this active group, it will cost you even more if you let it die now.
A few years back we hired some of our best people by convincing the administration that times of short funding are ideal for hiring people who are undervalued where they are. I.e. we argued that in hard times there are wonderful talents who have been unable to find appropriate jobs, and that if we step up and make offers to them we can get terrific bargains. These people appreciate this show of confidence in them and tend to stay.