By Veronica Mohesky, 23News Reporter

Sen. Claire McCaskill addressed questions from MU students in Jesse Wrench Auditorium at a student forum on Friday, Jan. 26.

McCaskill talked with students about issues such as sexual assault on campus, tuition, healthcare and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She was welcomed by the Mizzou College Democrats, who organized the event, but she was met with criticism from the Republicans and DACA supporters in the audience.

Students stand up in Jesse Wrench Auditorium as Sen. McCaskill speaks.

DACA supporters stand to confront Sen. McCaskill as she speaks Friday, Jan. 26. The “Dreamers” were unhappy with McCaskill’s vote to end the government shutdown.

 

Republican students in the back held signs criticizing the senator for using private jets, while others held signs saying “Make America Great Again.” Angry DACA supporters were also there, ready to grill McCaskill on her lack of support for DACA. The students were upset that McCaskill voted yes to end the government shut down, and said she was doing nothing to protect “Dreamers.”

A group of student “Dreamers” questioned McCaskill’s support for DACA recipients and their parents. McCaskill responded to the criticism by saying that she believed that she made the right voting decision. She then referenced the president’s new proposal to create a pathway for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants to become citizens. All of the Dreamers stood together as they addressed McCaskill.

“I don’t blame them for being stressed,” McCaskill said of the DACA supporters. “I can’t imagine how hard this must be, but I do think the course we’ve taken is the one that is most likely to result in the protections they deserve.”

At the end of the student forum, the Dreamers exited while chanting, “Undocumented…Unafraid!” repeatedly.

McCaskill spoke of DACA in a serious tone, but when she addressed MU Republicans, she spoke with levity and a hint of sarcasm. She asked all of the MU Democrats to stand in the auditorium and then asked the Republicans to stand. To them, she said, “Great, welcome. Good luck with that.”

McCaskill spoke about the importance of student involvement in politics.

Sen. McCaskill holds a microphone and a piece of paper while she addresses students.

Sen. McCaskill holds a written question from a student on Friday, Jan. 26. Students were allowed to write a question for the senator to answer during the student forum.

 

“There’s this saying in political campaigns: Don’t go to college campuses,” McCaskill said in an interview with 23News. “Go to places where people are older, because they will vote, and the young people won’t. Well, it is time that that changes.”

“We are making decisions on behalf of the people on this campus that are here to get an education. And they need to step up and have a voice in those decisions.”

McCaskill is running for her third term in the US Senate in 2018. She wants young people, who historically have a lower turnout, to go to the polls and vote.

She said of the Democratic Party, “We need the voices of this generation.”

Edited by Isabel Lohman | iplp54@mail.missouri.edu

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