Wisc. Assembly Speaker Makes Good on Threat to Withhold Raises after University of Wisconsin Retains 188 DEI Positions

Evan Poellinger | October 19, 2023
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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker and Employment Committee Co-chair Robin Vos (R) has followed through on his promise to withhold funding for raises from faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin, after Gov. Tony Evers (D) retained 188 positions related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

On Tuesday, Vos voted to withhold the raises, adding that he would not allow the raises to be disbursed until the University of Wisconsin system agrees to cut funding for DEI at its schools by $32 million.

Vos and other Republicans in the Wisconsin state legislature had previously attempted to defund the positions, cutting the aforementioned $32 million from the state’s 2023-25 budget. That specific number, according to the Associated Press, was decided upon after Republicans calculated that this was the amount spent at the University of Wisconsin’s schools on DEI within two years. After Evers used his veto power to ensure that the positions associated with DEI remained intact, Vos threatened withholding the pay raises, which were included in the budget.

As with Vos’ initial threat to withhold the funding, the actual withholding of the pay raises has garnered controversy. Surprisingly, even some Wisconsin Republicans have voiced dissatisfaction with Vos’ decision. State Sen. Howard Marklein (R) stated that “local employees on our campuses should not be penalized for policy decisions made by leaders of the university system.”

Apparently, Vos is not opposed to allowing the raises to proceed on the condition that the University of Wisconsin relinquishes its job creation power, noting that the school is the “one agency in state government that is allowed to create positions outside of the legislative process.”

It remains to be seen if the Employment Relations Committee will eventually approve the funding. In the meantime, however, Vos’ stand has revealed that the beast of DEI-tainted education can, at least temporarily, be brought to heel.