Dismantling DEI at University of Wyoming

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Old Main at UW by Thecoldmidwest - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21640622

University of Wyoming (UW) announced on Friday that it is dismantling the school’s DEI office.

Insight Into Diversity reported in March on Governor Mark Gordon’s line-item veto that allowed UW to use its own funds for DEI initiatives while upholding lawmakers’ vote to eliminate state funds for diversity programming.

Discussions have remained ongoing, as university president Ed Seidel, PhD, organized a working group made up of staff senate, faculty senate, deans, and administrators to “provide suggestions … on how essential DEI programs, activities, and functions could be organized and funded within the university to make them most effective.”

The working group suggested five possible responses in their report that ranged from continuing to fund the DEI office through private means to reorganizing the efforts to closing the office completely, acknowledging the potential impacts of each, both positive and negative, on various university operations and community resources.

While not formal recommendations, the working group’s suggestions were considered as the UW Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week on the resolution.

President Seidel told the press that the move comes after a “strong message from the state’s elected officials to change our approach to DEI issues.”

Included in the changes, some support services that Seidel says, “might have incorrectly been categorized under DEI [that] are important for the success of our students, faculty and staff” will be redistributed to serve the institution from a different angle, while the university’s hiring process will no longer request applicant statements regarding their experience with diversity and inclusion.