Tigers Against Partisan Politics might not be against partisanship much longer.
Last week, the organization announced plans to merge with the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, putting TAPP under the ASUM umbrella.
The merger would allow for TAPP to fulfill the educational role in ASUM’s mission to advocate for students and educate students on politics. The new ASUM President Trey Sprick would work in conjunction with TAPP’s president, who would also become the ASUM vice president of education. TAPP will also change its name to Tigers Advancing Political Participation, while remaining a self-operating organization.
Confused? We are too.
We feel this potential merger may be a bit unnecessary. Sure, TAPP will combine their funding with ASUM and more money means more activities. But if that’s the only benefit, why combine? We understand that TAPP will strengthen ASUM’s ability to educate students, but why bring it under the ASUM umbrella while operating independently? TAPP and ASUM have a long history of co-programming on educational events, and this has gone well from our perspective.
Since its inception, TAPP has been a source for students seeking non-biased political information. TAPP is focused on education, such as hosting events focused on helping students register to vote. If it combines with ASUM, the MU community loses a healthy, MSA-independent organization.
Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t criticizing ASUM, TAPP or either of the organization’s missions. Both groups are fantastic and have great leaders who have goals and are educated about politics. It’s because both organizations have necessary goals that we’re not too enthused with ASUM eating TAPP.
We’ve seen some positive growth on the part of ASUM in the last few years, such as when the ASUM president became a member of the MSA cabinet. Again, we understand the reasoning, but it sets a bad precedent. Should the chief diversity officer take over other diversity organizations because they have similar goals? Probably not. Just because these groups do similar things doesn’t mean they should merge to become one huge organization.
Most importantly though, this merge is confusing for students. If TAPP’s goal is to independently educate students and ASUM advocates for specific things, how can they do so while under a lobbying organization? This is the wrong solution to ASUM’s lack of an educational program.
Once it’s said and done (because let’s be real, it’s going to happen), we’re interested to see where ASUM’s focus goes and how TAPP’s mission changes. Our bet is a few years down the road, TAPP won’t be against partisanship anymore.