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Serious Controversies Ensew Turning Point USA at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Controversies ranging from racism to assault plague UNLV.

Duane Paul Murphy

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On Monday, April 29th, an officially recognized chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was tabling on campus to promote their conservative views as well as club membership. One of the posters on display said, “Build the Wall”, a reference to President Trump’s proposed physical border wall along the southern U.S.-Mexican border. One student, in protest, knocked down the sign while the club members were tabling. The student who protested, undergraduate student Alexander Kostan, would soon encounter an incident with the club president of TPUSA@UNLV, Riley Grisar.

“Riley forcibly pushed me, almost to the point where I fell to the ground, I was in heels, and so as I didn’t fall, I then proceeded to walk away,” Kostan said. “I started chanting “no justice, no peace” on campus where people were gathering.” Despite reporting the incident to the police and the university, Kostan said that no action has been taken against the group and believes that the university is complicit if it does not act on TPUSA@UNLV controversies. 

“UNLV uses excuses such as this is “freedom of speech” to justify hate speech, however, the university fails to realize that students and their safety are at risk,” Kostan said. Kostan, whose preferred pronouns are they/them, told College Media Network that they will decide on legal actions regarding the incident after graduating this fall. 

This is not the only incident that the student group has faced in recent days. On Wednesday, May 8, a viral video originally posted on Twitter by Our Revolution Nevada, a progressive political group, shows Grisar and a woman next to him saying racial slurs. Soon afterward, other outlets picked up the viral video.

Parker Harris, a student coordinator a TPUSA@UNLV, told College Media Network when asked about the video that “we are taking care of it” of the situation. The national TPUSA has released a statement on Thursday, May 9 on Twitter regarding the incident.

Multiple Turning Point USA chapters across the United States have faced various similar issues in regards to racism and other incidents. From members of the online alt-right joining chapters nationwide to racist messages sent between TPUSA members at Florida International University’s chapter, the conservative youth group may face more scrutiny in the near future.

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Duane Paul Murphy is a D.C. college student and student journalist born and raised in Southern California. Currently studying for his bachelor’s in politics and a minor in media studies, Duane Paul is interested in covering domestic as well as international political affairs that impact the lives of everyday people, whether they are young students, professionals, or faculty in higher education.

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