By Alexa Schwerha
The University of Wisconsin (UW) System will no longer require new employees to submit statements outlining their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), CBS 58 Newsroom reported.
UW System President Jay Rothman announced the decision to end diversity statements to lawmakers on Thursday while delivering testimony in front of the state House of Representatives, according to CBS 58. Republican lawmakers, who have expressed interest in eliminating DEI programs, had threatened to cut campus state funding, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“Regardless of the form, this practice may be perceived as a litmus test,” Rothman said, according to CBS 58. “And as a result, some people may simply not apply. We have to be inclusive, and that means inclusive of everyone, including people with varying political ideologies and perspectives.”
Half of university professors disapprove of diversity statements, which outline a person’s commitment to DEI, according to a survey conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Critics argue that they violate “academic freedom,” while the supportive half maintained the statements “are a justifiable requirement.”
“If they want to increase their funding, they have to show they can prioritize things to grow the economy, not grow the racial divide,” Republican state Rep. and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos previously told the Sentinel.
Vos told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the decision to end diversity statements are “a small step forward” but that “a lot more needs to be done to address the blatant discrimination and indoctrination that has become systemic on UW campuses.”
The decision marks the UW system as the latest higher education institution to pledge to drop the requirements.
Texas Tech University announced in February that it would not require diversity statements after the National Association of Scholars’ released a report outlining how its biology department considered the statements when considering applicants. Texas A&M University System announced in March it would no longer require diversity statements from job applicants, while the University of Texas system paused all DEI policies earlier this semester while the Board of Regents conducted a review.
The UW System did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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