The Wisconsin state legislature voted to partially block funding for the state’s public universities due to the colleges’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, setting up a potential confrontation with the state’s Democratic governor.
The total cuts passed by the legislators totaled $32 million. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said that such DEI programs have become a “new religion” for “people on the left.”
“They no longer go to church on Sunday, but boy are they trying to make sure everybody is evangelized on campus,” Vos said. “That’s their only one acceptable viewpoint. That’s not what I think taxpayers should be funding,”
📣Republicans in Wisconsin:
Hold the Line on DEI cuts to the WOKE UW System💪🏽
The UW System has unfortunately become a cesspool of woke indoctrination. Yet Democrats want over $300 million more tax dollars and ZERO spending cuts in UW’s 32 million budget for “Diversity, Equity… pic.twitter.com/3BZi4MPX56
— Scarlett Johnson (@scarlett4kids) June 21, 2023
The future of the proposed cuts will likely be in political limbo. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) criticized the legislation, saying that it was a “short-sided move.”
He framed it as part of “Republicans’ decade-long war on higher education institutions in our state.”
The effort follows a similar push in Florida last month. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill that prohibited DEI funding to Florida’s public universities.
The legislation stated that public colleges could not use funding from state taxpayers for DEI programs.
The governor, who is seeking the 2024 Republican nomination for president, said that colleges that utilize DEI and critical race theory (CRT) often have a “very intellectually oppressive” framework.
He also said that many people “don’t believe that they have the freedom to speak their minds on a lot of these university campuses.”
The governor also signed a bill that prohibited public colleges from forcing students or faculty from submitting “diversity statements” as a condition of admission or hiring.
The efforts in Wisconsin and Florida also come as two Republicans voted alongside Democrats on amendments that would have reduced DEI requirements in the U.S. military.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) voted on several Republican-proposed amendments in the House Armed Services Committee intended to reduce DEI and CRT influence.
One proposal was to entirely cut diversity training for the military.
However, the panel passed several other measures to reduce DEI in the armed forces, including ending drag shows on property belonging to the Department of Defense.