US & Canada

'Campus hysteria' lawmaker abruptly ends interview

Rep Bobby Kauffman in the Iowa House of Representatives Image copyright Facebook/ Iowa House Republicans
Image caption Rep Bobby Kauffman proposed legislation that targets "post-election campus hysteria"

An Iowa lawmaker who started a campaign to punish universities assisting students upset about the election abruptly hung up on a Canadian radio presenter mid-interview.

Iowa State Representative Bobby Kauffman, a Republican, has proposed legislation targeting "post-election campus hysteria".

Carol Off, host of the programme As it Happens, asked him to give some examples of where this was happening.

Instead, Mr Kauffman hung up the phone.

The bill would cut funding to Iowa universities that spend tax dollars on grief counselling for students upset about the election.

Mr Kauffman told the Des Moines Register that offending schools would receive a budget cut equal to twice the amount they spent on the services.

"I find this whole hysteria to be incredibly annoying. People have the right to be hysterical … on their own time," he told the newspaper.

The bill, which he nicknamed "suck it up, buttercup," has received widespread media attention.

It would also create new criminal penalties for protestors who shut down state highways.

Image copyright Facebook/ CBC As it Happens
Image caption Carol Off, host of As it Happens, pressed Mr Kauffman on his bill in an on-air interview

According to transcripts provided by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which produces As it Happens, Ms Off's interview with Mr Kauffman started off smoothly, but quickly derailed when Mr Kauffman complained about some schools "coddling" students by bringing in therapy ponies.

Ms Off asked Mr Kauffman to specify which schools were bringing in therapy ponies, but he declined to say.

"My job is to be finding this out. I'm not prepared to name names right now. I'm doing an investigation," Mr Kauffman said.

"I'm not asking you to name names - just where did it happen?" Ms Off asked in a follow-up question.

Instead of answering, Kauffman hung up, ending the interview.

"Maybe I should have been a little less blunt, but it just got under my skin," he told the Register, adding that he had as many as 80 interviews that day and that he told producers beforehand he wouldn't name schools.

As it Happens also airs on National Public Radio in the US.

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