DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa state lawmaker wants to punish state schools that spend tax dollars to coddle students whose feelings were hurt by President-elect Donald Trump’s historic win last week.
Universities across the country have opened special safe spaces and offered counselors and therapy sessions – complete with Play Doh and coloring books – to help students cope with their emotions after the conservative upset.
But at least one state lawmaker believes the special treatment is a massive waste of tax dollars, and he plans to introduce legislation to send a message to Iowa schools.
“This is absolutely asinine. How undemocratic is it to protest a fair democratic election. How many of these universities did you see setting up safe zones, and cry zones, for Romney supporters or McCain supporters?” Iowa House Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa House Oversight Committee, told WHO News Radio 1040, referring to conservative candidates during the prior two presidential elections.
“If you were opposed to Barack Obama’s election, you were a racist. If you would have been opposed to Hillary Clinton’s election, if she would have won, you would have been sexist,” Kaufmann continued.
“But since Donald Trump won, you are seeing universities using taxpayer dollars to set up cry zones so people can talk about their feelings and how sensitive they are,” he said. “And this is almost like I’m telling a joke, so I decided to take action.”
Kaufmann told the radio show he’s teaming with state Rep. Megan Jones to tally up how much universities spent to coddle students upset over the election, and ensure taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the expense.
“If you want to do this on your own, that’s your democratic First Amendment right, but I am going to find out exactly how many taxpayer dollars are being used for these cry zones and all these different safe zones so you can talk about your feelings, and I am going to take whatever that number is and we’re going to triple it and cut that from the university budget,” he said.
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“If you can afford that, then your budget is too big and Megan and I have decided to officially call this the ‘Suck It Up Buttercup Bill.’”
Iowa State University student Lindsey Beck last week shared with Campus Reform a copy of an email she received from her instructor following Trump’s historic win last Tuesday calling off classes to give students “time to cope.”
“Due to the emotional response by a large number of students as a result of last night’s election I have decided to cancel class and postpone the quiz until Friday,” the email read. “This was a life-changing event, there is no question. Maybe one of the most shocking events in our history. I think many of you will need some time to cope due to the polarizing nature of the campaign.
“I will never preach politics or judge any student based on their political beliefs – it is not my place and we live in a democracy, but I think many of us are in shock and to quiz you after these events is not fair or warranted,” it concluded.
Other schools offered therapy sessions, or safe spaces for students to process.
“Today during my office hours, 4PM to 7PM, I will be bringing my personal coloring books, crayons, markers and colored pencils for anyone to use in order to de-stress and relax from the election results,” Plymouth State University community advisor Kirsten Elizabeth recently posted to Facebook.
At Yale University, an economics professor made his mid-term exam optional for those who couldn’t handle the election results, and the University of Kansas sent out a bulletin to remind students that therapy dogs are available to help them cope, EAGnews reports.
University of Michigan officials, meanwhile, offered up space where students “spent the day sprawled around … playing with Play-Doh and coloring in coloring books, as they sought comfort and distraction,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
And at Cornell University, students organized a “cry-in” at the Ho Plaza where their classmates could “come to terms” with a President Donald Trump.
“I’m quite terrified, honestly,” a student said in a video of the event posted to Facebook by the Cornell Daily Sun.
“It’s really hard for me to come to terms with this,” said another. “I think a lot of us are in shock.”