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Wisconsin Republicans look to end race-based scholarship programs

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(The Center Square) – Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is vowing Republicans will move to end race-based scholarship programs across the state in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court moving to erase race as a factor in college admissions.

Soon after conservatives on the high court used their 6-3 advantage to impose the new standard, Vos took to social media to tweet “we are reviewing the decision and will introduce legislation to correct the discriminatory laws on the books and pass repeals in the fall.”

One of the programs Republicans have set their sights on is the Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant program, which offers scholarships of as much as $2,500 to Black, Native American, Hispanic or Southeast Asian students.

“This bolsters the idea that race as a predominant factor in making decisions in America today is an outdated notion that should not continue,” Vos said at a news conference soon after the decision was rendered. “It shouldn’t be for hiring, shouldn’t be for promotion, shouldn’t be for acceptance into the university.”

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty president and chief counsel Rick Esenberg agrees, and goes even further in making his case.

There is “nothing about (the Supreme Court’s) decision that limits it to higher education,” he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, adding that state contracts with preferences to race and grants that prop up minority-owned businesses also need to be changed. “I think it was fairly clear before, but now it’s doubly clear that any use of race is just not permitted.”

Even before the high court’s decision, GOP lawmakers had been pushing to do away with diversity, equity and inclusion programs within the University of Wisconsin System.

With research already showing that Black and Hispanic students are less likely to graduate than whites, Democrats are warning that the Supreme Court’s decision could come to spell even greater racial disparity in higher education.

Gov. Tony Evers has long insisted he will not sign off on the new state budget with the $32 million cut to the UW System being pushed for by Republicans still in place.

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