TAPP, ASUM, MSA host presidential debate watch parties

The organizations bring in faculty to provide non-partisan commentary.

Tigers Against Partisan Politics, the Missouri Students Association and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri will be hosting their second presidential debate watch party at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Bengal Lair in Memorial Union.

“(One of the goals of the watch party) is to get away from all the ugly rhetoric that comes with watching the debate maybe with your family, or your friends who are really biased,” TAPP President Trey Sprick said.

TAPP has been using these events as another way to try to get the student body involved with the election and encourage them to be involved in politics and the voting process. They have brought in professors as well as students to help hold group discussions, all with the goal of allowing people to form their own opinions as the election date draws near.

The collaboration with ASUM — whose purpose is to “advocate and lobby for student interests while educating students on the importance of involvement in government,” according to its website — has helped TAPP get its message across, TAPP member Camille Hosman said.

“Working with big, established organizations has been very beneficial for TAPP, both to give us funds and to give us opportunities to have a wider audience,” Hosman said. “Working with ASUM in particular has been very beneficial for us because we share a lot of the same goals to educated the student population.”

With more than 200 people at the first presidential debate, both TAPP and ASUM were both pleased with the initial results.

“The first two watch parties have gone really well," Sprick said. "We had a great turnout for the first presidential debate. We are looking for another big crowd (at the next debate), with a great group of people who just want to learn about what the candidates are saying, and kind of have an informal discussion afterward.”

Such discussion has fostered some great conversations as well as a lot of positive feedback for the watch parties, Sprick said. No one can escape or come in without bias, he said.

The goal of the group is to foster healthy discussion by letting individuals form their own decisions from what they see during the debates and what they research about the candidates.

“There are so many people, particularly college students, who really value political education, and you can’t have any political education if you already know that you’re 'right,'" Sprick said.

Going into the second debate, the groups expect another big turnout and are excited about another opportunity to get together in a bipartisan way.

“It seems like people have been enjoying them — we have people that keep coming back to watch them, and I feel like we are going to get a pretty good turnout for the rest of these debates," Hosman said. "I do expect more people to start coming.”

The group still has one more debate watch party that will be held Oct. 22 in the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center. The groups are still actively seeking out people to join the watch parties, and people of all political affiliations are welcome.

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