State University System To Scale Back DEI Programs

( – The University system in Wisconsin has agreed to call a halt to diversity initiatives following demands from Republican lawmakers. Universities of Wisconsin (UW) announced in December that it would stop hiring for “diversity” positions and drop affirmative action hires in its flagship University in Madison.

The moves come as Republicans threaten to withdraw funding and block a pay rise, as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced in October. Mr. Vos refused to provide the financing for a 6% pay increase on state campuses until it cut funding for “woke” schemes.

In June, the Republican-led state legislature slashed UW’s funding by $32 million – the amount it calculated would be spent on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) over the following two years. Democrats furiously objected to the GOP standpoint, with Democrat Governor Tony Evers describing it as “as dumb as it comes.”

Despite the public row in June, Republicans and UW officials have been working behind the scenes for months to reach a compromise, and the details of a deal were published on December 8. The parties agreed there would be no “diversity hires” until 2026, current diversity roles would be altered to focus on “student success,” and applicants would no longer be questioned on their “woke” credentials. Finally, a newly created position will focus on “conservative thought,” and Madison will accept those who finish in the top 5% in a Wisconsin high school.

President Jay Rothman later tweeted that the deal is good for students but acknowledged that “not everyone will be happy.”

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted 11 to 6 to back the deal, which will now allow $800 million for pay rises as well as non-diversity linked programs and projects. The new approach aligns Wisconsin with several other states that have passed laws to track or put a stop to DEI spending. Ron DeSantis has banned such spending in Florida, while both North and South Carolina have legislated to keep track of diversity expenditure.

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