The University of Wisconsin has agreed to a deal that lowers the number of diversity jobs in its schools in return for giving staff raises and doing building projects.
Regents agreed to the deal on Wednesday night, which was supported by the Republican controlled state legislature.
The agreement, valued at $800 million, stops hiring new diverse employees until 2026 and changes the way 43 current positions work.
However, the state’s governor is against the agreement.
Tony Evers, who is a member of the Democratic Party, said that Republicans are using university funding as a way to push their own political ideas.
He said that the Republican Speaker of the legislature, Robin Vos, used bullying tactics to negotiate and does not like public education.
Mr Evers said that the school already agreed on pay raises for staff and money for campus improvements in the budget that was passed in July. He also mentioned that the state could have used its funds to help the school and stop people from losing their jobs.
The budget that was approved by Republicans gave a six percent raise to many state workers. But a committee led by Republicans later decided not to give the raise to University of Wisconsin workers.
Mr Evers said that the Republican’s vote today shows they are using their power too much and in the wrong way to control and disrupt the government.
After the vote, university leader Jay Rothman said the agreement was needed to make both sides happy.
Mr Vos said it’s just the beginning of our efforts to get rid of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at University of Wisconsin campuses.
The group voted 11 to 6 to approve the plan in a video call. Last week, they said no to the deal with a 9 to 8 vote because Democrats complained about the limits on DEI funding.
Some of the leaders who changed their mind said they needed more time to look at the plan.
“The vice president of the board, Amy Bogost, said that we can’t ignore the big problems that our universities are facing. She, along with two others, changed their vote to support the deal. ”
The Regents who said no to the deal thought that the way it was made could cause problems in the future.
“I didn’t join this board to get involved in political games,” said regent Angela Adams, as reported by the Associated Press. “In my opinion, we shouldn’t trade financial support for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. ”
Many democratic state politicians criticized the deal, and Rep Dora Drake said it was “racist”.
“It’s unfair to students, teachers, and staff who are people of color because their experiences should not be valued based on money,” she said.
The debate started after the US Supreme Court said in June that universities can’t use a person’s race when deciding who to admit.
Affirmative action policies aim to make schools more diverse. However, conservatives have strongly criticized them.