Last week, Republican State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos reiterated to media outlet Wispolitics that he is blocking pay raises for UW System employees unless the university first cuts DEI—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—positions. Vos stated that $32 million has been set aside for the raises, but, in his words, “not a nickel” will be released until or unless the cuts are made.
“For people on the left, DEI has become their new religion,” Vos told the Associated Press. “They no longer go to church on Sunday, but boy, are they trying to make sure everybody is evangelized on campus, that’s there only one acceptable viewpoint. That’s not what I think taxpayers should be funding.”
Governor Tony Evers signed a two-year budget that cuts funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at Wisconsin's universities, but he used a partial veto on the budget, allowing the U-W System to keep its 188 DEI positions and offices. The budget also allows the university to earn its DEI funding back if they show legislators they have been improving workforce development programs rather than focusing on DEI initiatives.
Vos is protecting taxpayers from having to continue paying far left educators while they peddle a very liberal ideological program that has no business in the publicly funded UW System. Diversity, equity, and inclusion programs promote racism and the LGBTQ+ agenda, privilege certain groups while ascribing guilt to others, and viciously distort America’s history.
As the Washington Examiner states, "DEI is indelibly linked to discriminatory concepts such as critical race theory. DEI has its roots buried in 'social justice philosophy,' a euphemism for racial preferences."
This past May, legislative pressure again threatening withholding funding resulted in the UW System agreeing to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion statements for job applicants. At the time, UW System President Jay Rothman said UW System leadership remains, quote, “absolutely committed to the principles of DEI….But when some people believe mandatory diversity statement in employment applications are political litmus tests, then we are not being inclusive." End quote.
The reality is that if the state legislature were to do what other states have done and pass legislation that prohibits the UW-System from staffing these DEI positions and promoting them on campus, the governor would simply immediately veto the bill in full. We know because we’ve seen him do that well over 130 times over the last four years on all kinds of bills, including ones prohibiting CRT training and instruction.
As a result of this reality, the legislature is doing what it can to rein in this liberal indoctrination with public funds and is smartly using the power of the purse to do so. A WisPolitics analysis earlier this year found that DEI positions in the UW-System cost $13.6 million per year. That may not be a huge percentage of the UW System’s overall budget, but every penny of it Is taxpayer money—and the UW System owes all of us as taxpayers some measure of accountability.
DEI is destructive and un-American. Universities that have made adherence to DEI’s tenets a condition of employment and hire staff whose sole job is to advance DEI, are guilty of every accusation of indoctrination and brainwashing that is leveled at them. Publicly funded institutions of higher learning are not autonomous entities. They are subject to at least some degree to the state that creates them and largely funds them. Our state legislature should be commended for taking aggressive financial action to in some way hold the UW System accountable.
Anytime we talk about public universities and colleges, I am compelled to remind parents and their college-interested children to be extremely wise about what schools are considered. If a public university is on the list, at a minimum, prepare your son or daughter for what he or she will encounter, including a full-court press to adhere to DEI and enduring what could happen if they don’t swear allegiance in word and practice.
Well, thankfully, we are seeing some progress in tamping down DEI across the country. The US Supreme Court ruled this past June against the use of racial preferences in college admissions. Now, a growing number of business leaders and college administrators across the country are moving away from DEI's intense focus on racial factors and cutting down on DEI activities. It's time for Wisconsin schools to do the same.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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