Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday afternoon the University of Wisconsin System “will never get another nickel out of the Legislature” unless they cut diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programming, a day after a UW-Madison official said the university will not cut DEI positions.
Vos has vocally opposed DEI programming, calling it racially divisive and terming universities with DEI programs “institute[s] of indoctrination.”
When asked if UW System schools could still recoup $32 million in 2023-25 funding cuts conditional on the submission of a workforce development proposal without eliminating DEI programming, Vos told the Cardinal keeping DEI positions would “absolutely” jeopardize their eligibility to regain the funding cuts.
Lori Reesor, vice chancellor for student affairs at UW-Madison, told the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Wednesday evening that the university would not cut DEI positions despite opposition from Vos and the Republican-led budget-writing committee.
“It’s really important with the things that are happening in the world — whether it’s some of the legislation that’s happening in Wisconsin or the budget cut as a result of DEI — we are not cutting the DEI positions,” Reesor said in her introductory remarks to student government leaders .
The $32 million cut originally included the elimination of 188 DEI-related positions restored by a partial veto from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
According to Blueprint365 — which obtained a list of DEI-related positions and salaries from the UW System — 73 of the proposed 188 cuts were at UW-Madison, with wages “totaling to over $6.5 million.”
Democrats have broadly opposed cuts to DEI programs, with budget-writing committee member Sen. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, telling the Cardinal in September that the programs foster enrollment gains and involvement in the workforce.
“[DEI isn’t] something you’re going to throw away in the garbage because Robin Vos is holding you hostage,” she said.
A spokesperson for the university was not immediately available for comment.
Liam Beran is the Campus News Editor for The Daily Cardinal and a third-year English major. Throughout his time at the Cardinal, he's written articles for campus, state and in-depth news. Follow him on Twitter at @liampberan.