Iowa college students recently showed up at the state legislature to protest proposed education cuts and resulting tuition hikes. A Republican state senator told them, essentially, to stop playing and go home.

According to an article by by William Petroski in the Des Moines Register:

Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon, patiently listened to the student leaders explain how state spending cuts were making college less affordable for students because of rising tuition rates at the same time that class sizes have been increasing and programs have been reduced.

When they were finished, Hamerlinck offered them his own lecture.“I do not like it when students actually come here and lobby me for funds. That’s just my opinion. I want to wish you guys the best. I want you to go home and graduate. But this political fear, leave the circus to us, OK? “ he said.

Hamerlinck then proceeded to thank the student leaders for coming, and he said it was a good thing that they had carefully prepared their remarks. “But actually spending your time worrying about what we’re doing up here, I don’t want you to do that. Go back home. Thanks guys,” he said. “At the end of the day, the Senate has to decide how big the state budget is, and parading students in here for political theatre moves that practice backwards,” he said.

Come on, Hamerlinck, you’re a politician. Of course it’s political theatre, that’s the point.

Nevertheless, students at state colleges are constituents. If as a result of state budget decisions their tuition goes up, that makes it a lot more difficult for students to go home and graduate, doesn’t it?

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer