56°F
weather icon Clear

UNLV alum Tomi Lahren of Fox News draws protest at campus speech

Updated October 10, 2019 - 5:54 am

Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech titled “Stay Triggered” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside.

The event, hosted by conservative organization Turning Point USA at UNLV, came days after students at University of Nevada, Reno protested TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk being invited to their campus.

University police and administrators were present at the UNLV event, which was open to the public.

In her speech, Lahren touched on support for law enforcement and critiqued several Democratic presidential candidates, but took aim at what she described as a culture of victimhood prevalent on college campuses. Lahren graduated from UNLV in 2014.

Attendees CJ Campbell and Andrew Snow, who described themselves as fans of Lahren’s, said they heard about the event the day before at a booth on campus.

“It was like, oh wow, we’re here, let’s hear what she has to say,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he was drawn to a slogan on the flyer promoting the talk: “Worry less about who you might offend and pay attention to who you might inspire.”

Outside, a group of about 30 protesters held signs and chanted slogans as Lahren and others walked in. They stayed through the end of the event and traded verbal jabs with departing attendees.

Tyler Chalker, who organized the protest, said he wanted his fellow students to feel comfortable demonstrating against what he called hate speech. While Chalker said he would not support banning speakers from campus, he would instead want students to challenge them.

Chalker said that he is opposed to Turning Point USA, whose history at UNLV has been marked by racist incidents, including the ouster of a former president who flashed a white power hand sign in a viral video. Chalker said he is also opposed to Lahren because of her support of President Donald Trump.

“I worry that our tuition money is being used to bring people to campus who champion hate speech,” Chalker said, referring to student fees collected by the student government and doled out to campus clubs.

A number of bystanders observed the protests, including Dante Miller, a graduate student studying black conservatives in the age of Trump. Miller said the event and the reaction were on par with others he’d seen at college campuses, though UNLV’s status as one of the most diverse schools in the nation provided a unique context.

UNLV President Marta Meana was unavailable to comment Wednesday on the event, but she said in a panel on free speech Friday that while public campuses may not be able to ban controversial speakers, they could make their own stances clear.

In a letter to the campus dated Sept. 18, Meana also said: “Individuals advocating for a position, regardless of how presumptuous or offensive others may find it to be, does not necessarily cross into unlawful activity.”

Steph Landeros, a bystander, said such a response from university leadership was mediocre. Students at UNR have also expressed frustration with university leadership, whom they say has not adequately addressed other incidents of white nationalism on campus.

“We’re always discussing freedom of speech, but never the consequences of it,” Landeros said. “You may have a right to speak, but other people have the right to respond to you.”

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at aappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0218. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST