Las Vegas

Move by Democratic groups to boot UNLV’s Turning Point USA chapter fails

Efforts by two Democratic groups to get UNLV to revoke pupil group standing for a campus chapter of the nationwide conservative pupil group Turning Point USA have come up empty.

A letter launched by UNLV Democrats and Nevada Young Democrats on Tuesday, which was despatched in January to UNLV and pupil authorities officers, condemned actions taken by the Phoenix-based Turning Point USA and its founder Charlie Kirk and referenced the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

“The actions taken by Turning Point Action (a related group founded by Kirk) directly assisted individuals to go to the Capitol to disrupt the electoral vote count by supplying transportation and hotels,” UNLV Democrats President Areli Alarcon and Nevada Young Democrats President Mario Arias wrote. “Turning Point Action bused domestic terrorists to the Capitol and attacked our democracy. Their actions seek to undermine democracy and disenfranchise UNLV voters.”

The letter calls on the college to examine the actions of the nationwide group. Arias informed the Review-Journal on Tuesday the organizations aren’t conscious of anybody from UNLV’s Turning Point chapter who traveled to Washington, D.C.

Arias mentioned the Democratic groups despatched an e-mail Jan. 19 to UNLV officers and acquired a identical day response from Chris Heavey, the college’s government vp and provost.

“They pretty much told us ‘we’re not going to do anything about it’ and that was it,” Arias mentioned, noting the response was that the college can’t prohibit a pupil group’s free speech except there’s direct hurt.

The pupil groups despatched a response Jan. 25, however acquired “ghosted,” that means they didn’t hear again, mentioned Arias, a 27-year-old UNLV pupil.

UNLV spokeswoman Cindy Brown mentioned Tuesday in a press release that there have been no reported incidents within the final year associated to the Turning Point chapter.

“A registered student organization’s status may only be revoked if found, through due process, that it violated campus policy such as the student conduct code,” she mentioned. “As a public higher education institution, UNLV cannot restrict speech or activities except in very narrow instances where speech is not protected under the First Amendment.”

A spokesman for Turning Point USA didn’t supply an instantaneous touch upon the trouble to revoke the chapter’s authorization.

Arias mentioned he welcomes organizations with totally different political viewpoints on the UNLV campus, however accused Turning Point members of attempting to provoke confrontations when the Democrat groups are organizing.

The Democratic groups wrote within the letter to UNLV officers that the native chapter has “displayed xenophobic propaganda on campus and actively engaged in violence” and that UNLV didn’t take motion in opposition to the group. The letter references a 2019 viral video the place the chapter president on the time “displayed white supremacist behavior and racist comments.”

In May 2019, a pupil recognized as Riley Grisar, who was president of UNLV’s Turning Point chapter, was eliminated by the nationwide group after he appeared in a 10-second video that went viral saying “white power” and flashing a hand gesture that has been used by white supremacists.

That got here greater than every week after protesters confronted members of UNLV’s Turning Point chapter after members of the group arrange a sales space and wrote “build the wall” on a mock border within the frequent space on the college.

Around that point, a petition circulated calling for the college to take away Turning Point USA as a pupil group.

In October 2019, Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren spoke on campus at an occasion hosted by the college’s Turning Point chapter. A gaggle of protesters gathered exterior the general public occasion.

During the identical month in Northern Nevada, a petition was circulating — Vice President Kamala Harris was amongst those that signed it — calling on University of Nevada, Reno’s directors to take motion in opposition to cases of white nationalism on its campus, together with a swastika painted on a wall.

The petition, launched shortly after Kirk had spoken at UNR, mentioned the college’s response to the presence of Turning Point on campus and its alleged intimidation of different college students was insufficient.

Kirk based Turning Point USA in 2012. The group’s web site lists a number of chapters in Nevada, together with at UNLV, UNR, College of Southern Nevada, and a number of other Las Vegas and Reno-area excessive colleges. It says UNLV’s chapter was shaped in 2019 and has 30 lively members.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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