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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


GOP legislators announce funding cuts to UW System DEI funds

Joint Finance Committee to cut $32 million from University of Wisconsin budget
Abigail Leavins

Republican lawmakers announced Thursday that they will move forward with cutting the University of Wisconsin system budget by $32 million, leaving the system almost half a billion dollars short of what they requested, according to Associated Press.

The decision comes as UW System President Jay Rothman said Monday that UW would have to make significant program cuts and raise tuition if the Joint Finance Committee followed through with their promise to cut the UW System budget.

AP News reported that the UW System is expected to face a budget deficit in 2024 and had requested $435.9 million in the upcoming state budget. 


“It’s just that simple,” Rothman said. “We do not have the resources to continue to simply do what we have done before.”

The Joint Finance Committee was poised on June 13 to cut $32 million from the UW system budget. 

The JFC did not make an official decision that night, nor would top Republicans comment on their decision the next morning.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declared he intended to cut funding from diversity, equity and inclusion programs at UW. He said $32 million is about what UW would spend on diversity officers.

Governor Evers, Republican leaders reach tentative agreement on shared revenue plan

Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, criticizing Republicans for this move. 

“These cuts will be disastrous for the 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,” Evers said.

Evers then declared Wednesday that he would veto any budget that included these cuts, according to Associated Press. Vos said in a news conference that he does not believe Evers would follow through and veto an entire budget over one issue. 

This is not Republicans’ first attempt to cut diversity efforts at UW schools, according to the Associated Press. They found that Republicans had introduced over 30 bills in 12 states to curtail DEI initiatives in higher education. 

Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison) issued a statement in response to this proposal, calling it economically and culturally irresponsible. 

“It’s time for Speaker Vos and legislative Republicans to drop the culture wars and work in the best interest of Wisconsin,” Agard said. “Unfortunately, today’s actions continue to show that they are not serious about creating a Wisconsin where people want to live, work and play.” 

Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) said it is “wrong” for Republicans to target DEI funding when that is something that will benefit the state and schools. 

Vos has claimed that DEI efforts in the UW system are a waste of taxpayer money. UW System President Jay Rothman just hired a new chief diversity officer to start next week. 

State, community leaders honor Juneteenth with flag raised over Capitol building

The UW system had asked for a large increase in funding in the upcoming budget, according to WKOW. Rothman said in a Senate committee meeting June 19 that UW system funding ranks 42nd out of 50 states in the U.S. 

“I’m going to say that again, 42nd out of 50 states in the nation,” Rothman said. “I’ve lived in this state my entire life. That is a very different complexion than what I grew up with in this state. That is disturbing to me.”

Lawmakers said the UW System could get the money back if they demonstrated that they would use it on workforce efforts instead of DEI programs.

Rothman said in a Tweet after the announcement Thursday that lawmakers were missing an opportunity to invest in the Wisconsin workforce with these cuts, calling it a “setback.”

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin shared a statement on the decision Thursday. She first thanked the JFC for the compensation plan for UW System employees. The plan gives employees 4 percent in the upcoming year and 2 percent in the following year. Mnookin said this plan helps to account for inflation and its impact on the workforce.

But the chancellor expressed disappointment at the stagnation in funding. Mnookin added that DEI programs have a critical role in education.

“The professionals working to help our students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds and experiences reach their full potential deserve both respect and appreciation for their crucial efforts,” Mnookin said.

Mnookin said it was disappointing that the JFC would not invest in the future of the state’s workforce nor consider the economic benefits of investing in the university.

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