Legislative Report for February 28th, 2024

Legislative Report for February 28th, 2024

House Chamber during the morning session in the 2023 legislative session. Photo by Michael Smith

This Report Brought To You By:

The Wyoming Senate voted to cut funding for gender studies and the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the University of Wyoming during today’s session. If these amendments are included in the final state budget, it could lead to significant changes for the respective programs.

Following the vote, differences between the Senate and House budget bills still need resolution. Gender studies courses, which explore power structures and institutions through feminist or queer studies literature, were voted against due to concerns from some members about conflicting ideals with traditional Wyoming values.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

Despite objections from some senators, the Senate voted 18-13 to defund gender studies. However, the fate of this decision depends on the budgeting process, as the House’s budget version does not include the amendment.

Similarly, the Senate also added a footnote preventing UW from using its appropriations on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Critics blamed such initiatives for various issues, with Senator Charles Scott(R-Casper) calling the diversity office “a monolith of wokeness.” The budget cut for diversity efforts, like the one for gender studies, is not final and needs resolution during the merging of the budget bills.