UW President Seidel Reflects on Legislative Actions Regarding UW

Mar 27, 2024 | Regional News

Laramie, WY (RELEASE) MArch 27th, 2024 — With the conclusion of the 2024 Budget Session of the Wyoming Legislature, University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel has outlined his thoughts on UW”s position following the Governor’s final action on the budget.

“All in all, it was a successful session for UW, with the Legislature and the governor continuing their strong support for the state’s university,” said President Seidel. “The newly adopted state budget includes these additional provisions beyond our $338 million block grant for the coming biennium, which spans July 1, 2024-June 30, 2026:”

  • $1.8 million to help us improve mental health services for our students, faculty and staff.
  • $2.5 million in matching funds to develop artificial intelligence expertise.
  • $5 million to upgrade classroom technology.
  • $3 million to increase stipends for graduate assistants.
  • $10 million for the University Endowment Challenge Program and $2 million expendable match for priorities identified and approved by the Board of Trustees (which occurred at the recently completed March board meeting).
  • $1 million for library collections.
  • $1 million for our new Neltje Center for Excellence in Creativity and the Arts.
  • $60.9 million for major maintenance.
  • $2.5 million in endowment matching dollars for research, education and extension in ranch and rangeland management, agronomy and soil science.

President Seidel also addressed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program at the University.

“Most notably, the Legislature reduced our block grant by $1.73 million, the budgeted biennial amount for our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and directed through a budget footnote that no state dollars be spent on the DEI office, effective July 1, 2024. They also directed that no state funding be spent on DEI activities, functions or programs, but the governor used his line-item veto on that second piece of the budget footnote,” said Seidel.

“We are now considering how to manage this situation. There are some student success, access and community engagement functions we will need to continue, so as to not jeopardize federal funding for research and other programs. We certainly will continue to value and serve students, employees and community members of all genders, ethnicities and backgrounds, and work to make everyone feel welcome. But the message from lawmakers, regardless of the welcomed line-item veto from the Governor, is that our DEI efforts must change, and discussions are underway to determine the best path forward. This will include appointment of a working group that includes faculty, staff and students to look closely at all of UW’s programs and activities in this area; consider which can and should be continued; and explore how funding sources other than state appropriations can potentially be deployed to support some essential functions.”