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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Explained: $32 Million cut to UW System
Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Image retrieved from

Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was among Wisconsin Republican law makers who voted to cut $32 million of funding designated for the diversity, equity, and inclusion programs across the UW System schools. The cut was voted on this past summer, despite a predicted $7 billion state budget surplus.

Vos stated to the Wisconsin State Journal that the UW System will not be given any more funding unless they make significant budget and personnel cuts to the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) positions that each UW System school currently holds.

The $32 million that was cut is split across all UW System schools over two years, with UW-Madison taking the brunt of the loss with a $16 million cut this year. Republican lawmakers also reportedly attempted to cut 118 positions from the System’s DEI programs, which Governor Tony Evers vetoed earlier this year.

The cut follows a proposed $305 million budget increase for the System from Governor Evers, initially $130 million less than the System had asked for. This budget increase was to be implemented over the next two years.

Schools in the UW System may keep their $32 million in funding for their DEI programs in exchange for the six percent raise that was supposed to be doled over the next two years. Thus far, no school has elected to keep the funding over the raises, as they pay raises are necessary in order to keep their staff and combat inflation.

These pay raises were approved last June. However, they must still be approved again by the Republican held Senate before they can go into effect something that they do not plan on doing until the $32 million has been fully cut from the DEI programs.

On Sept. 15 Vos said to Wisconsin Politics, “I don’t think they deserve to have any more resources until they accomplish the goal. Not a nickel. When I say a nickel, thats what I mean.”

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse our Diversity and Inclusion department provides services such as the ACCESS Center, the Pride Center, the Center for Transformative Justice, and more that can be explored on their website. All of these are programs need funding provided by the state of Wisconsin to continue to do their work and provide their services.

Student Association (SA) President Emma Latus and Vice President Siri Flores attended a Shared Governance meeting in Madison this past Friday where representatives from UW System schools met and discussed the DEI budget cuts as well as the financial deficits that each of their respective schools are facing.

The UWL Joint Planning and Budgeting Committee met on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and reporting out on that meeting Director of Staff Jacob Puhr said to SA, “Based on our finances we’re doing a lot better than other UW institutions, and that any challenges we do face can probably be resolved fairly easily. The school has good enrollment and good retention, so overall financially it looks like we’re in a pretty good place.”

When the topic of the financial deficits UW System school’s have been facing came up during this week’s SA meeting, Senator Marlee Simpson said, “The deficit is a lot smaller than the other universities in the UW System, so we’re in a good spot.”

UW President Jay Rothman has been advocating for pay raises and been attempting to negotiate some of the lost funding back. Next month the university will present a case to get $15 million of the funding that was cut back.

Rothman told Wisconsin Politics that efforts to get pay raises approved are continuous and he is hopeful that they will succeed. “We continue to have discussions with the Speaker and appreciate that there are differing views,” Rothman continued. “We believe we can work through these issues without adversely affecting employees and their families.”

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About the Contributor
Jackson Skarp
Jackson Skarp, Student Government Reporter
  • Year at UWL: Sophomore
  • PGPs: He/Him/His
  • Hometown: Cottage Grove, MN
  • Major: Communication Studies
  • Minor: Legal Studies and Philosophy
  • Other Campus Involvement: Pre-Law Society Member
  • Future Plans after Graduation: I plan on attending law school after graduation
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Finding new coffee shops to study at.
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