How Higher Education Failed Bobby Kaufmann

From one Iowan to another.

November 17, 2016

Where do I begin with this post? For starters, if you came here today for higher education and technology, take a pass on this post or peruse the archive.

It's about 10:30PM in London and I'm trying to collect my thoughts into something coherent so that Bobby Kaufmann can understand them. Because this post is really for Bobby.

First a bit of background on Bobby... Bobby Kaufmann is the Iowa State Representative for the 73rd District. He was born and raised in rural Wilton, Iowa. After graduating from Wilton High School, Bobby attended Muscatine Community College and the University of Iowa.

Recently, he has gone on the record saying he plans to propose legislation that would punish Iowa's state universities for providing support to students who were upset by the results of this year's presidential election.

Calling it the "Suck It Up, Buttercup" bill, Bobby is upset that universities are supporting students who need support.

Bobby and I have a lot in common. We both grew up in rural Iowa. My house was probably about an hour's drive away from his. Like Bobby, I too went to community college. Instead of MCC, I went to Indian Hills. And, because I wanted to explore a new city, I went to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls. While I'm a few years older than Bobby, he and I share slightly similar stories. Except he went into politics (following in his father's footsteps) and I went into a career in higher education.

Imagine my surprise when I started seeing news reports about Bobby's plan to punish Iowa universities for supporting students.

What Bobby has failed to realize is that this year's presidential election wasn't like elections in the past. Typically, the winner of the U.S. presidential election is either a Republican or a Democrat who has run on a platform of policy mixed with differing ideology.

However, this election's president-elect has spewed hatred like a broken water pipe after a sink hole collapse. Donald Trump has threatened people, bragged about doing harm, and incited acts of violence against those who would protest his rise to power.

So when Trump was elected, it's not business as usual where some are disappointed that their chosen candidate lost, and others are elated because their person was victorious.

Students at universities are upset because they should be upset. They, like a lot of Americans, have been threatened and bullied by hate-filled rhetoric from a presidential candidate for the better part of a year. And now, that bully and hatemonger is now weeks away from having the most powerful political position in the United States.

What Bobby needs are equal doses of empathy and critical thought. Clearly his university experience failed him. There's a big difference between disagreeing about a political issue and being on the receiving end of language that threatens your very existence. If he can't understand that then he shouldn't be in public office.

In a recent article in the Des Moines Register, facts trumped Bobby's claim that taxpayer funds were being used to support students. The largest state schools - UNI, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa - all confirmed that no extra money was spent on recent election results-driven activities.

Bobby needs to realize that he has done two things: he has minimized the very real fear that a lot of of people are currently processing and he's also threatened to financially penalize higher education in Iowa.

All I can think of is that he's gunning for a position in the next administration by throwing more idiotic fuel on the raging dumpster fire that Donald Trump has ignited.

And, don't get me started on the not-so-subtle gendered jab that is calling upset and fearful people "buttercup." I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Bobby would go that route given his party's candidate's propensity for misogyny.


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