Governor protects DEI from potential death sentence at University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming will take a spending cut of $1.7 million taxpayer dollars for its DEI office, but will still be able to use its own funds and state funding for DEI programs in general.

One critic of the governor’s action said: ‘He is willing to sell out the people of Wyoming and our university students to the DEI green new deal and gun grabbing crowd in the Biden administration.’

In late March, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed into law a bill that cut off $1.7 million in taxpayer dollars dedicated to the University of Wyoming’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), but used his line-item veto power to make sure that the university could use both taxpayer dollars and its own money on DEI initiatives more broadly, according to Cowboy State Daily

In a March 22 letter from Gordon to Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray, the relevant legislation is seen stating: “No funds from this appropriation shall be expended on the office of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Wyoming or on any diversity, equity and inclusion program, activity or function,” with the strikethrough indicating the governor’s line-item veto. 

[RELATED: Alabama governor signs anti-DEI bill into law]

The governor’s letter explained the rationale behind the veto: “I . . . believe that without this targeted veto, the legislature will have inadvertently put millions of dollars of federal grants that regularly flow to the University at risk. These grants are vital to research and other core purposes of the University, but with the condition that the recipients extend opportunities to participate to underrepresented and underserved populations, including veterans, people with disabilities, Native Americans, and others.” 

“These grant-required inclusion efforts are much broader than LBGTQ+ or others that our Legislature may believe are the only populations for which inclusion efforts are intended. Clearly Wyoming need not pursue any ‘woke’ agenda and I have encouraged the University to drop such nonsense,” he continued. 

Republican Wyoming Senator Cheri Steinmetz criticized the governor’s veto, saying: “He is willing to sell out the people of Wyoming and our university students to the DEI green new deal and gun grabbing crowd in the Biden administration. Don’t listen to what he says; look at what he does,” according to Cowboy State Daily

[RELATED: Missouri legislature advances bill to protect religious student groups]

Campus Reform previously reported on the Wyoming state legislature’s decision to defund the University of Wyoming’s DEI office, as well as its “Gender and Women’s Studies” program. 

Campus Reform has reached out to Governor Gordon’s office and the University of Wyoming for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.