IA ‘suck it up, buttercup’ bill punishes colleges catering to Trump protests & post-election blues
Many colleges responded to the result of the 2016 presidential election by offering to reschedule exams or providing additional counseling services. This greatly bothered an Iowa state representative who hopes to cut the budgets of participating schools.
Calling it the “Suck it up, buttercup bill,” State Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton) plans to introduce legislation that would calculate how much state universities spent providing additional support to students after the election and cut their budget by half that amount.
In addition, the legislation would punish protesters who shut down highways.
Kaufmann plans to introduce his buttercup legislation in the Iowa House in January 2017. However, the opposition might say zero divided in half is still zero.
A spokesmen for Iowa public universities told the Des Moines Register that no additional state resources went to extra support for students traumatized by Trump’s election victory. Both students and faculty at Iowa State University organized rallies and marches, and some student groups at the University of Iowa held demonstrations of their own. However, none of them reportedly cost the schools additional money.
Scott Ketelsen, director of university relations at the University of Northern Iowa, told the Register that these kinds of post-election actions belong on college campuses, saying, “It’s where people learn. It’s where they share ideas. I don’t consider it coddling.”
He also explained why students were given the opportunity to share their feelings after the election, saying: “It wasn’t like previous elections, so the response wasn’t like previous elections. And that’s OK. But people have to be able to sit down and have open dialogue and honest communication with one another.”
However, Kaufmann found “this whole hysteria to be incredibly annoying. People have the right to be hysterical… on their own time,” he told the Register.
Kaufmann hopes that his legislation can determine charges for law enforcement to deal with highway protests that block major traffic.
“I have no issue with protesting," he said. "In fact, I would go to political war for anyone who wanted to protest or dissent and they couldn’t. But you can’t exercise your constitutional right by trampling on someone else’s. When they blocked off Interstate 80, they crossed a line.”
He also raised concerns about first responders on getting stuck in protest-related traffic when responding to emergencies. While some protest groups have policies to clear the way for emergency vehicles, the lack of consistency was worrying to some of his constituents.
“If you want to protest, you’re free to do that, but doing it on the interstate’s probably the last place you want to do it,” he said. “I would say it’s a very, very dangerous situation for people to go on an interstate.”