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Sunday, April 21, 2024
Tony Evers Signs New Maps 2

Gov. Tony Evers announces new legislative maps on Feb. 19, 2024. 

Evers will veto GOP proposal to ban diversity statements on UW job applications

Gov. Tony Evers will veto a bill that would prohibit UW System institutions from requiring students and faculty to provide diversity statements for enrollment, funding or hiring.

A Republican bill that would prohibit UW System universities and technical colleges from requiring students and faculty provide diversity statements for enrollment, funding or hiring is all but dead after opposition from Gov. Tony Evers. 

Rep. Clint Moses, R-Menomonie, introduced the bill earlier this month to tackle ongoing Republican concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in universities and the self-censorship of conservative speech. The bill would also allow students, organizations or faculty members to sue their campus if they were denied admission, financial aid, employment or promotion for their refusal to sign the pledge.

Evers’ spokesperson Britt Cudaback said the governor will veto Moses’ bill in an email to The Daily Cardinal. The bill passed the Assembly Thursday.

The UW System agreed to eliminate DEI statements on job applications for employees and students in May after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, threatened budget cuts if the UW System did not comply with his request. 

"I do applaud UW President Rothman for saying he's going to remove it but I will tell you right here I've got 25 job applications for the UW System that all have DEI in the description," Moses said. "Assembly Bill 1065 would address that issue once and for all and get rid of some of the divisiveness that's occurring on our campuses."

A UW System spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

In addition to the removal of diversity statements, Republican lawmakers and the UW Board of Regents passed a deal in December to restructure DEI positions in exchange for pay raises and building projects. Democrats opposed the deal, which was negotiated behind closed doors with minimal public input. 

The Legislature approved $740 million for the building projects Thursday, including UW-Madison’s engineering hall, dorm renovations, systemwide construction projects and restructuring parts of a tuition reciprocity agreement with Minnesota to send more money directly to UW campuses.

Evers has been vocal against Republican efforts to ban DEI initiatives in Wisconsin. He previously criticized the decision-making process leading up to the December deal and told the Cardinal in January he would veto any bill cutting DEI programs.

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Ava Menkes

Ava Menkes is the state news editor at The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple stories about Wisconsin politics and written in-depth about nurses unions and youth voter turnout. Follow her on Twitter at @AvaMenkes.

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