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Democrats angry over proposed University DEI cuts

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(The Center Square) – Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol are furious with the Republican plan to cut diversity, equity, and inclusion money from the University of Wisconsin.

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday said the plan to cut $32 million in DEI money from the UW System’s $6.5 budget is part of a “decade-long war on higher education.”

“It’s clear Republicans have no real or meaningful solutions to address our state’s longstanding workforce challenges, and that includes making the necessary investments to educate and retain talented students across our state,” the governor said in a statement. “These cuts will be disastrous for our UW System, almost certainly causing cuts to campuses and critical programs statewide, and will only hurt our kids, our state’s economy, and our state’s workforce in the process.”

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos wants to make the cuts to move the university away from its hundreds of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators.

​​”The university has gone from being an institute of higher education to an institute of indoctrination,” Vos told the Journal Sentinel last month. “If they want to increase their funding, they have to show they can prioritize things to grow the economy, not grow the racial divide.”

The top Democrat in the Assembly, Greta Neubauer, said “‘it is simply wrong”’ for Republicans to target DEI.

“There is no logic to Robin Vos’ decision to cut $32 million from UW Systems’ funding. Targeting UW for DEI positions and initiatives is offensive and will have far-reaching and detrimental effects for our state,” Neubauer said in a statement. “Without the proper funding and resources, we cannot expect our world-class universities to keep up with schools elsewhere. By cutting funding for the UW System, Robin Vos and legislative Republicans are putting the well-being of our state at risk. The Republican-led vilification of the UW System is extremely disappointing and must end.”

The back-and-forth over the DEI money came as the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee paused a vote Tuesday on the UW System’s new budget.

Lawmakers are not saying when that vote will come.

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