Immigration, gun control among key issues for student political group

TAPP seeks to provide a nonpartisan forum for students.

Tigers Against Partisan Politics discussed tackling immigration, gun control and alternative energy with an educational discussion Monday night in the MU Student Center.

Those at TAPP's biggest general meeting were educated on immigration policy through an article from the Wall Street Journal and various videos. The following discussion focused on President Obama's treatment of immigration, anchor babies and the economic effects of immigration reform.

TAPP provides healthy political discussion, president Camille Hosman said in accordance with the group's mission, which is to provide a non-partisan forum.

This semester, Hosman said TAPP is hosting an immigration forum Feb. 25 featuring professors from various departments as well as representatives from different student organizations. The forum will focus on the effect of the different immigration policies if these policies are enacted.

"The TAPP executive board decided to have immigration as the first issue to conquer this semester because it's been talked about for a really long time, and nothing has changed up until recently," Hosman said.

Freshman attendee Michael Ousley said he wanted to learn more about immigration because it has been getting a lot of national recognition.

After immigration, TAPP will switch its focus to gun control in March, Hosman said. Then, alternative energy will be discussed in April.

"I'm really interested to see where we take gun control," freshman Megan Kelly said. TAPP does not take political stances, as evidenced by the group's name. Kelly said gun control will be an interesting experience.

Hosman said gun control is a sensitive topic, and TAPP's approach will be to look at the issue in terms of students and what they deal with on a daily basis. TAPP will also partner with the Missouri Students Association and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri for this topic.

This is TAPP's second semester as an organization, Hosman said. It worked with ASUM on the Let Your Vote Roar initiative last semester. With the election over, TAPP is shifting focus.

Hosman said she wants to focus more on educating people on the issues and how to take political action beyond voting.

"I want people to be able to provide a basis for how they feel," Hosman said.

In addition to educating and hosting forums, TAPP is trying to convince Rep. Vicky Hartzler to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Hosman said. Hartzler represents the Fourth district, which encompasses MU.

Currently, this caucus has about 24 members from both houses and both sides of the aisle. TAPP learned about this caucus at the Meeting to Make America Work in New York City during winter break.

Garrett Poorman, director of education and advocacy for TAPP, said the group wants to send 50 unique, handwritten letters to the congresswoman's office to encourage her to join.

Kelly was among the TAPP representatives that went to New York City and said TAPP is awesome.

"I consider myself politically involved," Kelly said. "It's great to have a forum to talk. You don't step on people's toes."

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