In response to the new state law, the University of Wyoming is closing its DEI office

CV NEWS FEED // The University of Wyoming recently announced that it will eliminate its Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The University (UW) issued a press release on May 10 explaining that the change comes after legislative action cut $1.73 million from the budget for the next two years. In a footnote to the legislative budget, UW was also informed that starting July 1, state funds could not be spent on the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

In response to the legislative action, President Ed Seidel appointed a working group, which identified needed changes to DEI on campus and prepared a report. In addition to eliminating the DEI office, the working group also eliminated the requirement for applicants to submit DEI statements and no longer allowed UW to annually evaluate employee commitment to DEI.

Seidel stated in the press release that the changes were supported by the UW Board of Trustees. He added that some initiatives may have previously been incorrectly categorized as DEI, and that UW plans to continue supporting such programs.

“We have received a strong message from the state’s elected officials to change our approach to DEI issues. At the same time, we have heard from our community that many of the services that may be incorrectly categorized under DEI are important to the success of our students, faculty and staff,” Seidel said in the press release. “These initial steps are a good faith effort on the part of the University to respond to legislative action while maintaining essential services.”

According to the press release, the working group defined DEI programs and activities in part as those that “advantage or disadvantage individuals or groups” based on gender, race and more. Seidel labeled DEI programs as “advocating or promoting preferential treatment.”

Seidel said that if “preferential” programs – such as the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference of Women in STEM – are deemed essential to help students, they will be privately funded in the future.

Certain activities and programs will not be affected, including nondiscrimination requirements, requirements necessary for athletic and academic accreditation compliance, access program requirements for military veterans, first-generation or low-income students, students with disabilities and others.

“We understand that these changes may be difficult for some people to accept, just as there are those who will view the changes as insufficient,” Seidel said in the news release, adding that UW has received hundreds of responses from different perspectives regarding changes. “What I can say is that we are moving forward as best we can to meet the expectations of elected officials and the people of Wyoming and continue to serve our students and communities.”

Back To Top