On Thursday, Republican lawmakers in the state of Wisconsin announced major budget cuts for the University of Wisconsin, a move that intends to defund the university’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) efforts.
As the Daily Caller reports, the budget cuts will impact the state’s 2023-2025 budget. The funding can only be earned back by the university if the school can prove that it is no longer focusing on DEI, and will instead put the money into more meaningful endeavors such as workforce development programs.
“For people on the left, DEI has become their new religion,” said Robin Vos (R-Wisc.), Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, prior to last year’s election. “They no longer go to church on Sunday, but boy, are they trying to make sure everybody is evangelized on campus, that’s there only one acceptable viewpoint. That’s not what I think taxpayers should be funding.”
The proposal would see a total of $32 million cut from the university’s budget. A previous effort by the state GOP to defund the university was delayed earlier this month after Governor Tony Evers (D-Wisc.) threatened to veto the budget proposal. Jay Rothman, President of the University of Wisconsin, claimed that such a budget cut could result in higher tuition to offset the costs, or even could lead to several of the campuses shutting down.
Earlier this month, Rothman hired a new “chief diversity officer” who is being paid an annual salary of $225,000. In total, DEI-focused employees at the University of Wisconsin are making an annual total of approximately $15.6 million.
“They need to refocus their priorities on being partners on developing our workforce and the future of the state,” said Assemblyman Mark Born (R-Wisc.). “And we’re hopeful that they’re going to be ready to do that as we move forward.”
The Wisconsin effort is just the latest example of a nationwide crackdown on DEI, the practice of mandated diversity, often through hiring or admitting students based on race, gender, and sexual preference, rather than on merit, as well as requiring lessons that deliberately divide people based on their identity. Since March, at least 26 different bills have been introduced in 15 different states throughout the country to limit or eliminate DEI programs.