The GOP’s war on racially diverse college campuses was never going to be confined to the party’s war on affirmative action.
In fact, Republican efforts to ban diversity, equity and inclusion programs on college campuses, curb free speech around progressive causes and restrict classroom discussions on social inequality all limit higher education from becoming more amenable to students — particularly nonwhite students.
Now it appears Republicans are setting their sights on another tool used to foster campus diversity: minority scholarship programs.
On Thursday, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly suggested he’ll move to ban grants designated for minority undergraduate students. The speaker, Robin Vos, responded to a tweet claiming a minority scholarship program designated for students who are Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or of Laotian, Vietnamese or Cambodian descent amounted to “discrimination.”
In his response, Vos seemed to embody the conservative fervor to block racial minority groups from higher education opportunities. His tweet came just hours after conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted affirmative action policies in college admissions, showing his eagerness to end minority scholarship programs. And he later retweeted a user who claimed Ivy League schools “hate rural whites,” suggesting his apparent push to end minority scholarships is thinly veiled white revanchism.
Vos has also been a vocal opponent of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, referring to such programs within the University of Wisconsin System as "indoctrination" despite a racist incident at the Madison campus making headlines in the spring. Although Wisconsin is operating with a projected $7 billion budget surplus, Vos and Republicans in the state Legislature voted to cut $32 million from the UW System's budget unless it agrees to use the funds for workforce development rather than DEI efforts. The GOP plan also seeks to cut nearly 200 DEI jobs on UW campuses.
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling gave conservatives the go-ahead to hack away at campus integration and diversification plans. And there’s no question many of them are happy to do just that.