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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


In Fall 2022, the latest period reported by the University of Wisconsin System, 2.4% of students at UW-Madison were Black.

There were 1,214 Black students; total enrollment was 49,587. Another 4% identified with two or more races.

At UW-Milwaukee, 6.7% of the 22,866 students were Black.

The figures reported date back to 2007. The highest percentage of black students at UW-Madison was 2.9% in 2007.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said on June 13, 2023, he wants to cut $32 million from the UW System, which he said is equal to what the system spends on diversity officers.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he wouldn’t sign the budget if Republicans follow through on that plan.

Diversity offices are designed to help minorities navigate academia. Monica Smith took over as the UW System’s diversity officer June 12, earning $225,000 a year.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


University of Wisconsin System Total enrollments by race/ethnicity – UW Madison

University of Wisconsin System Total enrollments by race/ethnicity – UW Milwaukee

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel UW-Madison’s Black student enrollment has never exceeded 3%. Why does the school make so little progress, decade after decade?

PBS Wisconsin Wisconsin governor vows to veto state budget if GOP cuts diversity dollars from university system

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel UW System hires new chief diversity officer despite Republican push to defund diversity offices

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.