In a 9-8 vote, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System Board of Regents rejected an $800 million deal with the Wisconsin state legislature Saturday, choosing instead to keep expanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and continue hiring staff and admitting students based on DEI standards.
Indeed, the UW System board is adamant about continuing to make DEI hires, like Dr. Sami Schalk, a University of Wisconsin-Madison Gender and Women’s Studies associate professor, internet famous for twerking semi-nude while wearing an N-95 mask on stage at a rap concert.
“Today, the University of Wisconsin Regents rejected $800 million in new funding and raises for every one of their 39,000 employees because they just couldn’t bear to part with DEI hires like Professor Butt Cheeks here,” Milwaukee conservative radio host Dan O’Donnell wrote on X.
Incredibly, however, the now-rejected deal wouldn’t have jeopardized the jobs of professors like Schalk or DEI coordinators at the universities. For months, UW System President Jay Rothman and UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin have been brokering a deal with the Republican-run Wisconsin state legislature, which wanted to see only marginal limits on DEI initiatives within Wisconsin’s public universities. In exchange for $800 million for UW System pay raises and building projects, the UW System would have agreed to several reasonable and minimal changes.
First, the deal would have limited DEI expansion but would not have let go of any DEI staff or hires, including “Professor Lizzo.” All the legislature asked for was a freeze on hiring DEI coordinators for three years. Additionally, one-third of the UW System’s current 130 DEI positions would be transitioned into color-blind student success roles.
Second, the UW system would have taken a step toward merit-based hiring. The deal stipulated that UW-Madison, the largest UW school, would have to terminate a hiring program that recruits staff based on immutable qualities like race and sexual orientation. The program would be replaced by a new “hiring program for faculty who have demonstrated their ability to work with underrepresented students,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Third, it would have promoted diversity of thought by implementing a mandatory free-speech orientation program for freshmen and allowing conservative views to be freely discussed on campus. Like most universities, UW-Madison’s faculty is overwhelmingly leftist, and courses and even entire departments are dedicated to leftist political thought. Meanwhile, conservative courses or departments are non-existent. For this reason, the state legislature also wanted UW-Madison to seek donor funds for a faculty role “focused on conservative political thought, classical economic theory or classical liberalism.”
Lastly, the deal would have moved the UW System toward merit-based admissions by removing “diversity” statements from its application process. Additionally, to stop unfair diversity quotas from discriminating against top-performing students, UW-Madison would have to guarantee admission to the top 5 percent of in-state applications while other UW System schools would have to accept the top 10 percent of in-state students.
Before officially rejecting the proposal, Regent Angela Adams described it as “insulting [to] people historically excluded and underrepresented in higher education. ” Adams said, “It’s divisive, it’s polarizing, and will ultimately lead to even more negative effects on the university system for decades to come.”
None of the board members who rejected the deal elaborated on how hiring professors and admitting students based on their academic qualifications is “insulting” and “divisive.” According to the board, political activists masquerading as academics are more important to UW campuses than inflationary pay raises for all UW employees.
What exactly are diversity hires like Schalk bringing to the table? Schalk, a “Black feminist & disability studies senior scholar” known for her promotion of polyamorous relationships, has produced “scholarly” work on “Black disability politics” in “the context of white supremacy.” Her academic work includes research on how “able-mindedness and able-bodiedness are socially constructed and upheld through racial and gendered norms.”
In addition to her “scholarly” work, Schalk contributes anti-American sentiments to campus. “Looks, I’m not a legal scholar or anything,” she wrote on X, “but it just seems like maybe basing our entire system of legislation on what some slave-holding white dudes said about rights & freedom on a piece of paper hundreds of years ago is a bad idea.”
Of course, she also adds partial nudity and lewd dancing to UW-Madison’s campus culture. The twerking video she shared on X isn’t her first. Schalk also twerked on stage with pop star and accused fat shamer Lizzo while wearing a cape that read, “100% THAT B-TCH.” “When Lizzo joined in, booty to booty — my butt blessed — it was pure Black Girl Magic,” Schalk wrote in a Vox article detailing her experience onstage with Lizzo. “Joy reverberated upon joy throughout the venue. It was the epitome of pleasure activism.”
Instead of feeling shame over her twerking episodes, Schalk is proud of them. “Shoutout to my taxpayer funded -ss!” Schalk wrote on X in response to an O’Donnell post. Schalk even views her performance as a “benefit” to her students. “My students benefit from, indeed deserve, a joyful educator who practices what she preaches regarding self-love and fighting oppression,” Schalk wrote in her Vox article. “As a gender and women’s studies professor, I spend a lot of time teaching students how to recognize sexist, racist, and ableist body shame in our culture and reject them,” she added.
Schalk represents the overwhelming number of leftist activists who have been infiltrating American universities for decades, replacing authentic academic inquiry with their political agenda. Everything Schalk specializes in — feminism, fat studies, disability studies, queer theory, and critical race theory — are forms of cultural Marxism. They are not real fields of study, like mechanical engineering or physics. Rather, they are different flavors of a singular political school of thought.
Schalk’s ideology can be boiled down to dividing people by their race, sexual orientation, weight, etc., and placing them in two categories: oppressed or oppressor. Schalk wants social and political systems upended so that the oppressed and oppressors within each group receive the same, or “equitable,” outcome.
It is largely for her “activism,” not her research, that Schalk was named one of the DEI program’s 2021 Outstanding Women of Color in Education award winners. According to the award webpage, Schalk was involved in the 2018 “No Cops in Pride campaign” and “worked with the Community Pride Coalition to educate the LBGTQ community in Madison about anti-racism and police violence.” Schalk also “was named Outreach Community Center’s LBGTQ Advocate of the Year,” and she’s on the board for “Freedom Inc., a local Black and Southeast Asian feminist, queer activist, and advocacy organization.”
DEI programs and the cultural Marxist classes and departments where Schalk thrives exist to take universities’ mission of academic inquiry and throw it out the window, replacing it with leftist activism and groupthink. DEI programs micromanage speech on campus to make it more “inclusive.” Their very presence conditions students to self-censor, lest they be called bigots, and DEI coordinators frequently mobilize students to get conservative speakers booted off campus.
Ultimately, the UW System Board of Regents’s decision has made clear that radical Marxist activism is the ultimate ethos of the UW System. As for Republicans in the state legislature who represent the taxpayers funding the UW schools’ political extremism, they aren’t budging.
“It was our best and final offer,” Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We negotiated in good faith and expected the same. It’s a shame they’ve denied employees their raises and the almost ($1 billion) investment that would have been made in the UW System to continue their ideological campaign to force students to believe only one viewpoint is acceptable on campus.”