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U. Wisconsin-Madison Denies Request to Disclose Diversity Spending Figures

U. Wisconsin-Madison Denies Request to Disclose Diversity Spending Figures

“The university denies your request because it is insufficient under the Wisconsin Public Records Law overly broad and unduly burdensome on the university to try to fulfill”

Many schools spend an absurd amount of money promoting diversity. Why doesn’t this school want to disclose the amount?

The College Fix reports:

University of Wisconsin denies request to disclose diversity spending figures

The University of Wisconsin Madison has denied a request to disclose its diversity spending figures, citing the task as overly broad and “burdensome.”

The College Fix in May had filed a public records request to determine how much the state’s flagship university has spent on diversity improvement since 2016, including employees, scholarships and grants, speakers, events and recruitment.

The request was submitted after departing Chancellor Rebecca Blank urged her successor Jennifer Mnookin to do more for diversity on campus in her final public press conference.

The College Fix submitted the request to the Office of Compliance using the Freedom of Information Act, a 1967 law that requires government and public entities that receive public tax dollars to disclose certain information when requested.

The request sought information on “all diversity improvement spending by the University of Wisconsin since 2016 including faculty, scholarships and grants, speakers, events and recruitment.”

Such documents could include invoices for diversity and inclusion events and budgets with salary figures for its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion division. The university also maintains an “inclusion resources” list that details information on the “workshops, conferences, lunch & learns, initiatives, and other activities that have served the campus community in support of equity and inclusivity.”

But the university recently denied The College Fix’s request.

“The university denies your request because it is insufficient under the Wisconsin Public Records Law overly broad and unduly burdensome on the university to try to fulfill,” Records Custodian Elizabeth Wilkerson told The College Fix via email.

Wilkerson stated the request’s language was unclear.

“It is not clear what you mean by ‘diversity improvement spending,’” Wilkerson wrote. “Your request is not specific enough to conduct a search for responsive records. Even if you were more specific about exactly what records you mean by ‘diversity improvement spending,’ we cannot search the entire university without a limitation on where to look, and who may be in possession of the records you are requesting.”

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Comments

without a limitation on where to look, and who may be in possession

You know they’re hiding something when they demand the requestor already know where all the records are and who has them, but refuse to disclose the information required to know that.

As a former state-level FOIA officer, the response is bunk.

But the requester could start with the Chancellor’s office. Apparently the outgoing Chancellor thought the university wasn’t doing enough, so she must have had data showing the amount being spent was pitifully small, right? /snark

    healthguyfsu in reply to Arejaye. | July 8, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    I could tell you that just by looking at it. It looks to be written emotionally without thought to proper structure and punctuation.

      healthguyfsu in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 8, 2022 at 9:41 pm

      Also, colleges just LOVE to brag about this stuff.

      A good starting place would be all of the initiatives that they’ve had brag press releases for. If the information isn’t sufficiently released (a common tactic for public offices with something to hide), then they FOIA requestor can press for more.