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Wisconsin Speaker: UW DEI deal not changing

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(The Center Square) – The top Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly says the deal to swap DEI jobs for pay raises at the University of Wisconsin is still on the table, but he also says it’s not changing.

Speaker Robin Vos told News Talk 1130’s Jay Weber on Monday morning he’s willing to give UW regents time to reconsider, but he’s not going to soften his stance on ending diversity, equity and inclusion spending on UW campuses.

“The deal was negotiated in good faith,” Vos said. “We are not changing one thing in this deal. We are not going backwards. If anything, I’d prefer to go forward. But, you know, a deal is a deal, and you have to keep your word. So, it’s going to last for a little while. But this is not forever.

Vos didn’t say how long he’s planning to leave the deal on the table, but he suggested regents could reconsider and vote again after the holidays.

UW regents on Saturday voted 9-8 against the deal that Vos agreed to with UW President Jay Rothman.

Some regents felt the agreement “sold out” students and faculty of color.

Democrats spent the weekend cheering on the regents and demanding Vos soften his stance.

The top Democrat in the Wisconsin Assembly, Rep. Greta Nuebaur, D-Racine, said Vos needs to give up and authorize the UW pay raises.

“An important reminder that the GOP can schedule a vote to release UW employees’ pay raises AT ANY TIME. This is completely within their power,” Neubauer said on social media. The GOP is cynically withholding raises and funds for critical university projects as leverage and we can’t let them get away with it.”

Rep. Alex Joers, D-Middleton, took it a step further.

“The Speaker and legislative Republicans now have the opportunity to do the right thing for WI. Release already approved pay raises, allow buildings to move forward, fund our universities, and drop their culture wars on DE&I,” Joers tweeted.

Vos said Democratic lawmakers must not know him very well.

“There is zero chance. I will do everything in my power to make sure that we either enforce this deal, or we wait until the next budget to talk about it again,” Vos said. “We are not going to give the raises, we are not going to approve these new building programs, we are not going to approve the new money for the university unless they, at least, pass this deal.”

Vos says the regents have a meeting scheduled for early January and said he will give them time to reconsider. But Vos said the deal “will not last forever.”

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