Disclosure: New Efforts by UW System to Rebrand DEI Initiatives

WILL is calling on UW System to follow laws and U.S. Constitution, and to provide additional documents related to their programs

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has uncovered new efforts by the University of Wisconsin System to rebrand and move Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) positions and initiatives despite pressure from Wisconsin lawmakers and a new Supreme Court ruling requiring UW to treat all students and staff equally regardless of race. WILL is calling on Wisconsin’s largest higher education system to follow the law and treat all students and staff equally. 
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, stated, “UW’s DEI system must be dismantled immediately. Students go to college to learn, not to be divided based on race and ideology, but that’s exactly what the University System intends to do. WILL is demanding answers, including additional documents as part of our open records request. WILL is also calling on the UW system to end its discriminatory practices and disavow this obvious attempt to rebrand DEI and conceal the efforts from taxpayers.”
Additional Background: WILL filed an open records request on September 7, 2023. Those requests revealed a new guiding strategy document for UW’s DEI initiatives. UW leadership is considering, “given political landscape and legislative decisions,” a rebranding of DEI as “inclusive excellence,” changing “the titles of our diversity personnel,” and a comprehensive effort to “reorganize and place” DEI officials in new positions and other areas of the system.
As a result of the open records request, the University is refusing to provide other important documents that the public deserves to see including emails indicating certain prominent UW officials’ reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision and how the UW plans to interpret the Supreme Court’s mandate that UW cannot consider “race for race’s sake.”
Earlier this summer, WILL launched the “Equality for All Agenda” in response to Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, a recent SCOTUS ruling striking down affirmative action and confirming that federal law and the Constitution both forbid any form of race discrimination. The majority opinion explains that federal law and our Constitution demand colorblind treatment of all individuals. Our entire agenda can be found here.
Read More: Check out this strategy document, agenda, and excerpts of UW’s redacted records below.
Dan Lennington

Dan Lennington

Deputy Counsel

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