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HomeBreaking NewsGov. Evers' Appointee on UW Board of Regents Expected to FLIP, Freeze...

Gov. Evers’ Appointee on UW Board of Regents Expected to FLIP, Freeze DEI

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Barring some last-minute change, it appears that the largely Gov. Tony Evers’ appointed Board of Regents is about to flip and approve a compromise plan that they voted down Saturday. It would freeze DEI positions in the UW System and shift 43 of them to general student success.

A Saturday vote shooting the plan down robbed the UW System of $800 million in state funding, including money for workforce development and a new engineering building at UW-Madison. It also stripped 34,000 state workers of their pay raises. The Regents voted 9-8 on Saturday to shoot down the plan, which was crafted by the Republicans in the Legislature and UW administrators.

A last-minute meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. on December 13, 2023. The meeting will be held by teleconference. The public can attend via this link.

The meeting materials say that the following Regents are now recommending adoption of the compromise plan:

• Amy Blumenfeld Bogost, Regent Vice President;
• Ashok Rai, M.D., Regent Business & Finance Committee Chair;
• Kyle Weatherly, Regent Education Committee Chair; and
• Jay Rothman, University of Wisconsin System President

The significant name there is Bogost because she was one of the 9 Regents who shot the plan down on Saturday. If she flips, that would make the vote 9-8 to pass the plan. Bogost is a Democratic donor and trial attorney. Read more about her background and the backgrounds of the other Regents who voted down the plan here. Bogost’s sister in law is an Evers’ cabinet secretary.

Amy blumenfeld bogost
Amy blumenfeld bogost

Bogost is an appointee of Evers (along with the others who voted against the plan).

The meeting agenda says, “Recommendation to Approve Proposed Terms related to State Funding Proposal.”

Gov. Tony Evers released a word-salad statement on the sudden about-face. After Saturday’s vote, Evers had stated he supported the Regents’ decision to vote down the compromise plan, saying they were voting their “values.”

Showing division among Democrats, Democratic state Rep. Francesca Hong labeled the resolution “racist.”

“In doing away w/ DEI as we know it, I have no doubt that this racist resolution will do unjustifiable harm to the learners of our institutions. I urge the Regents to hold steadfast in their previous position — that DEI is non negotiable,” Hong wrote on X.

However, the compromise plan doesn’t do away with DEI. It freezes DEI jobs systemwide (there are 130) at the same level, including vacancies, and shifts, not cuts, some of them to help all students reach success.

In Tuesday’s statement, the governor said the Regents, who are mostly his political appointees, should be able to make decisions without “fear of threats and political pressure or retribution.”

He reiterated that he supported the Regents’ decision to vote down the compromise just a couple days ago “because I believed it was made consistent with this expectation, their values and their charge.”

But was it consistent with his?

Evers declared himself “disappointed in this process and recent days of threats regarding resignation and confirmation, ultimatums levied if discussions dare to continue…” What he was referring to was the possibility that Republicans in the Legislature might reject the confirmations of some of the Regents who voted against what the compromise plan.

Evers accused legislative Republicans of refusing “to work toward common ground when they don’t get their way,” although Republicans and university system leaders had come together to forge the compromise plan.

According to Evers, Republicans should “release the UW System raises and investments.”

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