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Wyoming is among the significant minority of states that, in one way or another, has opted to limit the funding and operation of diversity, equity and inclusion programs on college and university campuses.

But while Governor Mark Gordon signed into law legislation that would cut $1.7 million from the University of Wyoming’s budget to eliminate funds for its DEI office, the Republican governor vetoed a provision that would have ended diversity programming at the university, Cowboy State Daily reported. The veto will allow the university to use its own funds for diversity-related programs, though it will require elimination of the separate DEI office.

In a veto message explaining his decision, Gordon said the university and the state would have been putting at risk federal grants that require recipients to show that they are creating opportunities for underrepresented groups. “Without this targeted veto, the Legislature will have inadvertently put millions of dollars of federal grants that regularly flow to the University at risk,” he wrote.

Gordon also suggested that legislators may be using a too-narrow definition of diversity, equity and inclusion. “These grant-required inclusion efforts are much broader than LBGTQ+ or others that our Legislature may believe are the only populations for which inclusion efforts are intended,” he said.

The governor’s half-a-loaf decision displeased legislative critics of diversity, but it didn’t thrill DEI advocates, either.

“The sad part [of Gordon’s letter] is that it justifies the veto not because it was a bad policy, but because the policy puts the university at risk to lose federal funds,” Chris Rothfuss, a Democratic legislator, told Cowboy State Daily. “And that message is incredibly disappointing.”