Conservative law firm threatens discrimination lawsuit against UW-Madison

UW-Madison campus

MADISON, Wis. — The conservative law firm behind several high-profile lawsuits is threatening legal action against the University of Wisconsin-Madison over allegations that the university hired three mental health providers to work exclusively with students of color.

UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in a statement to News 3 Now the new providers aren’t assigned based on a student’s race, but they do have expertise in addressing racial issues students of color may face.

The university said it updated its original hiring announcement on Tuesday to “clarify the role” of the providers.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) said in a statement to News 3 Now that the providers’ roles are still a cause for concern.

“While we don’t necessarily oppose counselors claiming certain expertise in issues facing students of color, we remain concerned that such ‘expertise’ will consist of little more than stereotypes and worry about the disparate treatment that such stereotypical thinking might beget,” Dan Lennington, WILL Deputy Counsel, said. “We do read UW’s revised release to abandon the notion of making counseling resources exclusively available to students on the basis of race. Should this understanding be incorrect or should counseling services be provided in a discriminatory way, UW may be hearing from us.”

McGlone added that mental health providers with University Health Services have expertise in other areas including issues faced by LGBTQ individuals, international and multilingual individuals, and couples, among others.

RELATED: Conservative firm asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to block latest Dane Co. mask mandate

In August, WILL asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to throw out Dane County’s latest mask mandate saying Public Health Madison & Dane County doesn’t have the authority to issue a mandate. Dane County recently extended its mask mandate into November.

Earlier this year, the law firm also filed a suit against the City of Madison’s Police Civilian Oversight Board arguing the board’s racial diversity quotas are unconstitutional.