UW Board of Regents rejects compromise with Republican lawmakers on DEI, pay raises

9-8 vote stops potential freeze on diversity hiring, continues freeze on pay raises
University of Wisconsin
Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-09 18:39:08-05

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents narrowly rejected a deal made with Republicans in the State Assembly over diversity programming.

The board voted 9-8 against the deal in a special Saturday morning meeting.

Details on the deal were just announced Friday.

If it had been approved, the compromise would have agreed to put a freeze on hiring for diversity positions, in exchange for ending a freeze on pay raises for thousands of university employees.

UW Madison would have canceled affirmative action hiring programs and created a new position that would be focused on conservative thought.

After the deal was announced Friday night, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that the changes would have encouraged more diversity on campus.

"I have no problem with recruiting people to say we want the broadest, most inclusive possible student body," Vos said. "But we also don't think we should be recruiting people only if they're a certain minority or only if they have a certain political belief."

If the deal had gone forward, universities would have received funding for new building projects, as well as pay raises for their employees.

In a statement following today's vote, Speaker Vos said, "It's a shame the board has denied employees their raises and the almost $1 billion investment that would have been made across the UW system."

Governor Evers also weighed in, saying he supports the board's decision.

Evers added that he hopes conversations will continue, and that he "urges legislative Republicans to release the already-approved UW system employee raises and investments included in the biennal budget."