An Iowa state representative plans to introduce a bill that would penalize public universities for using taxpayer dollars to help students cope with the outcome of the election.
Under state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann's (R-Wilton) "suck it up, buttercup" bill, state institutions that fund counseling services beyond normal activities to help students cope post-election would be subject to fines. State universities that provide such services would face budget cuts equal to twice the amount spent on election-related counseling. Kaufmann says he will introduce the legislation in January.
The bill comes as protests over Donald Trump's presidential win over Hillary Clinton have taken off at campuses throughout the country.
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"I've seen four or five schools in other states that are establishing 'cry zones' where they're staffed by state grief counselors and kids can come cry out their sensitivity to the election results," Kaufmann says. "I find this whole hysteria to be incredibly annoying. People have the right to be hysterical … on their own time."
The bill would also impose new criminal penalties on protestors who shut down highway traffic; protestors rallying against Trump in Iowa City recently shut down Interstate 80 for about a half hour. Kaufmann says he is developing a law enforcement task force to carry out the .
Spokespeople from Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa (UNI), and University of Iowa say that while there have been events for students to come together and air their grievances in the wake of the election, no additional funds have been used for such efforts. And they're not necessarily opposed to letting students share their feelings.
"I think universities are the perfect place to have these types of conversations," says Scott Ketelsen, director of university relations at UNI. "It's where people learn. It's where they share ideas. I don't consider it coddling" (Pfannensteil, Des Moines Register, 11/17; Hoover, Christian Science Monitor 11/16).
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