(The Center Square) – The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin is taking a stand on the fight between Republican lawmakers and the University of Wisconsin over diversity, equity and inclusion money.
The League encouraged Republicans to release $32 million that’s being held in an effort to get the university to move away from diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
“The state university system should be allowed to continue its standards of excellence for all,” the League wrote. “Fostering diversity brings strength. Supporting students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds ensures their success. Educating students in diverse environments prepares them for their future workplaces. State legislators pushing this hateful agenda don’t have Wisconsin’s long-term interests at heart.”
A number of Republicans, including the top Republican in Wisconsin Assembly, are threatening to withhold pay raises for UW system workers unless and until the university shifts its DEI money toward in-demand degrees and other programs.
“I don’t think that [the UW System] deserves to have any more resources until they accomplish the goal,” House Speaker Robin Vos said in an interview with WisPolitics two weeks ago.
The university continues to defend its DEI programs, saying they are a source of strength for the school.
“We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals,” UW-Madison said in a statement. “The University of Wisconsin–Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background — people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.”
The League says Wisconsin lawmakers are part of a wave of anti-diversity efforts across the country.
“This summer over 30 bills have been considered in state legislatures. They have been signed into law in Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. States enacting such laws and implementing these anti-diversity measures are seeing an exodus of staff and faculty,” the League wrote. “This trend is misguided and it threatens our workplaces, our schools, and our future. Diversity and equity are positive values that should be encouraged.”