On Wednesday, the University of Wisconsin (UW) system came to an agreement with the GOP-controlled state legislature to completely cut off any further Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, in exchange for receiving $800 million in state funding.
The Daily Caller reports that the deal was originally rejected by the UW Board of Regents by a one-vote margin, with 9 voting against and 8 voting in favor. But upon holding a revote, the deal passed with 11 votes in support and 6 against. In addition to a total freeze on any more DEI positions in the system, the universities are also ordered to stop demanding diversity statements on student applications, and must also bring an end to race-based hiring programs.
“I’m glad they approved the compromise tonight despite reported last-minute lobbying by Gov Evers to scuttle the deal,” said Robin Vos (R-Wisc.), the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We finally have turned the corner and gotten real reforms enacted. Republicans know this is just the first step in what will be our continuing efforts to eliminate these cancerous DEI practices on UW campuses.”
The deal also calls for at least 43 current DEI positions to be reorganized into a new focus on “student success” rather than diversity, with the hiring freeze set to last until 2026.
The Board of Regents passed the deal after three of the regents – Amy Blumenfeld Bogost, Jennifer Station, and Karen Walsh – switched their votes from opposition to in favor.
Wisconsin’s state legislature, which is dominated in both chambers by the Republican Party, previously cut the UW system’s budget by $32 million in June, then withheld pay raises system-wide in October. Governor Tony Evers (D-Wisc.) filed a lawsuit against the legislature in November, accusing them of “obstructing basic government functions” by passing such a bill to block pay raises.