Diversity Hiring Freeze Plan Rejected Then Later Approved by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents

Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman brokered a deal with the Republican-controlled legislature that called for a hiring freeze for diversity positions through the end of 2026 and a shift of at least 43 diversity positions to focus on “student success.” The deal also called for the end of a program designed to recruit diverse faculty and the creation of a new faculty position on conservative political thought.

“In recent years we’ve seen a growing emphasis on concepts that amplify ideas of division, exclusion and indoctrination on our campuses,” Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos, who brokered the deal with the university, said in a statement. “Our caucus objective has always been aimed at dismantling the bureaucracy and division related to DEI and reprioritizing our universities towards an emphasis on what matters — student success and achievement.”

In return for the concessions on diversity, the legislature would allocate money for pay raises for university employees and release $200 million earmarked for a new engineering building on campus.

But the board of regents of the Unversity of Wisconsin System voted 9 to 8 to reject the agreement between the legislature and the university. Then days later the board reversed its decision voting 11 to 6 to approve the plan.

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