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Monday, June 24, 2024
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A mural for "Bridging the Divide" is displayed in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office in Bascom Hall Jan. 29, 2024.

UW System’s chief diversity officer resigns

Monica Smith resigned as the University of Wisconsin System’s chief diversity officer after one year on the job.

Monica Smith, the University of Wisconsin System’s chief diversity officer, resigned Thursday after one year on the job, ending a tenure that oversaw bitter fights between Republican legislators and the UW system over diversity, equity and inclusion positions (DEI).

Smith’s resignation comes after a tumultuous year where diversity, equity and inclusion were repeatedly assailed by Republican lawmakers and the subject of a six-month budget standoff. During the standoff, instigated by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, about 35,000 UW System employees saw their pay raises put on pause.

In December, the UW System adopted a controversial bill that restructured DEI positions in exchange for building and pay raises.  

UW System President Jay Rothman announced Smith’s resignation at UW Board of Regents meeting Thursday.  She has accepted a new position as vice president for inclusion and belonging at the University of Richmond in Virginia and will leave June 14, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

"We appreciate Monica’s efforts to initiate work consistent with our strategic plan and ongoing commitment to help all our students succeed," UW System spokesperson Ethan Schuh told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thursday. "We will continue to work with our university leaders to focus on inclusivity and diversity. We wish Monica well in her new position."

UW System and Monica Smith did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

This is a developing story.

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Gavin Escott

Gavin Escott is the campus news editor for the Daily Cardinal. He has covered protests, breaking news and written in-depth on Wisconsin politics and higher education. He is the former producer of the Cardinal Call podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @gav_escott.


Noe Goldhaber

Noe Goldhaber is the college news editor for The Daily Cardinal. She previously served as the copy chief. She is a Statistics major and has specialized on a wide range of campus issues including protests, student housing, free speech and campus speakers and campus administration. She has done data analysis and visualization for the Cardinal on a number of stories. Follow her on Twitter at @noegoldhaber.

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