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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Deal limiting diversity work on WI campuses prompts calls for action

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023   

Campuses in Wisconsin's public university system now face hard limits on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts following a controversial budget agreement tied to the Legislature. Advocates for Black and Brown students hope it inspires activism.

Last week, the University of Wisconsin System's Board of Regents approved a deal pushed by Republican lawmakers to freeze DEI-related hiring so that schools could receive state funding for staff raises and campus construction projects.

Jaszy Segarra, college organizing manager for the Wisconsin-based group Leaders Igniting Transformation, sees the outcome as a dangerous precedent. She said she hopes students will be motivated to push back, in part by becoming more involved in student government associations.

"Student government associations in Wisconsin hold a great power and privilege to speak on behalf of the students," Segarra pointed out, "especially with working with chancellors and administrators, and the Dean of Students and DEI offices."

While policies may vary between campuses, Segarra said she has encouraged these associations to use their resources to support diversity efforts, and has also urged students to attend meetings.

Republican legislative leaders contend DEI programs are divisive. Their arguments come amid growing cultural debates at colleges and universities across the nation.

Segarra cited her own personal experience, saying DEI programs were a tremendous help when she attended college in Wisconsin. She's convinced these programs can set students who feel they don't have a voice on a better path.

"All students benefit, and especially students who come from different backgrounds," Segarra noted. "Whether they come from big cities, small cities, everyone benefits from these resources."

Research from Texas A&M University analyzed a specific DEI plan and found an increase in enrollment for Latino students, among other positive benefits. The study also revealed that, despite these efforts, students felt people on campus still tended to stay mostly within their own identity groups.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.



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