Black Legislative Caucus calls for UW Regents to reject DEI-cuts-for-cash deal again


    The Wisconsin Black Legislative Caucus held a press conference at the Capitol today to plead with the Board of Regents to sustain its vote against “realigning” diversity, equity and inclusion positions at University of Wisconsin campuses in exchange for pay raises for about 34,000 employees and funding for a new engineering building at UW-Madison as well as other building projects.

    The Regents rejected the proposal in a special meeting Saturday in a 9-8 vote. Some who voted no complained that the deal had been negotiated behind closed doors with no input from students, faculty, staff or community. After another special meeting in closed session, the Regents announced that they’d vote again at 5 pm Wednesday. The Black Legislative Caucus called on the Regents to reject the proposal a second time.

    “I believe it was imperative that the Legislative Black Caucus called this press conference due to the urgency of what’s happened over the past week,” said Milwaukee Representative Dora Drake. “Our state is moving in the wrong way morally. We already know that the UW Board of Regents will be taking a vote today that could potentially flip the initial decision that happened Saturday, turning down the decision that would harm efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

    Members continued to plead and asked for Wisconsin’s white population to take up action with the continued issue on DEI. Rep. Drake also highlighted the 75th anniversary of the Universal Doctrine of Human Rights just occurred on Dec. 10.

    Members of the Black Caucus feel they are facing the same unending historical struggle for freedom and equal rights as those before them did in 1619 — the first documented year enslaved people reached the U.S.

    “Since 1619 my people have fought to be free to be treated like equals,” said Milwaukee Reverend Greg Lewis. “That’s why I need you, my white brothers and sisters, to stand up to these people and tell them how wrong they are when they start to deny us rights that we certainly deserve.”

    The Legislative Black Caucus is waiting on the results of tonight’s vote. If the vote is not sustained, the group plans to help lead action against the results to protect DEI at UW schools.

    Drake also questioned the legality of the Regent’s closed-session meeting that took place Tuesday, and called for an investigation.

    “We implore and we asked the board of regents to stand on their vote that happened on Saturday,” Drake said. “And if that was not the case, rest assured that was the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus members, community members, students, faculty, and anyone that knows and values. Diversity is our strength and we’ll be at every step of the way fighting against this.”

    The Board of Regents is set to vote again tonight at 5 p.m.