Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers Move Ahead with University Diversity Cuts

by Benjamin Yount


As promised, Republican lawmakers have cut $32 million from the University of Wisconsin’s budget in a showdown over diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee made good on the promise from Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to send a message to the university about focusing on education, and not “indoctrination.”

“The UW System ought to be teaching them different things, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration, professionalism and communication skills,” Rep. Alex Dallman, R-Green Lake, told reporters.

He said the university should not be “forcing these students to view the world through a lens of race, gender or economic class just to obtain one of these degrees.”

The Republican cuts mostly target DEI administrators on the 26 UW campuses, though most of them are at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

“We are cutting the university by $32 million, and eliminating roughly 188 positions,” JFC co-chair Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam explained. “There is going to be $32 million available for [the UW] to bring us a plan on how to prioritize that into workforce developments.”

UW System President Jay Rothman (pictured above), again, said the university cannot afford any budget cuts.

“The compensation adjustments announced by the committee are appreciated,” Rothman said in a statement. “However, Wisconsin’s public universities are already near the bottom nationally, at 42nd, in public funding. Investments at even half the rate of inflation would have afforded us a real opportunity to develop the talent that tomorrow’s workforce desperately needs. Instead, continued erosion of state investment will diminish student access and affordability at our public universities. This is a missed opportunity and a significant setback to Wisconsin’s efforts to win the war for talent.

The University of Wisconsin’s operating budget for the current school year is just over $6.8 billion. A $32 million ‘adjustment’ comes to less than half of one percent of what the UW System will spend.

Although Gov. Evers had promised to veto any DEI cuts in the past, he did not say on Thursday what he intends to do with this Republican plan.

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Jay Rothman” by Jay Rothman. Background Photo “University of Wisconsin-Madison” by University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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One Thought to “Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers Move Ahead with University Diversity Cuts”

  1. James M Draws Sr

    Where in the Wisconsin Constitution does it state that the UW-System must even exist if the taxpayers have no say it how and what it pretends to teach ??? Taxpayers that foot the bill for this “bloated behemoth of liberal thought” have every right and duty to make sure that the UW-System operates as the public desires; under the supervision of the taxpaying public and within the budget set by the taxpayers and their legislative representatives and not by the academic community. Audit the UW-System using an outside auditing firm and the public will be shocked at what they will find. No business in the private sector would even consider using it’s own in-house auditing department to handle this most important function and neither should the State of Wisconsin. Audit the UW-System if you want to find out the truth.