Turning Point USA representative Brittni Coffeen joined host Alex Marlow in a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily for the weekly TPUSA campus report. Coffeen talked about her recent experience at UNLV, where an effort to recruit new TPUSA members was met by protesters who destroyed their display and assaulted conservative students.
“We decided to do an activism event, and it was ‘Build the Wall,'” said Coffeen, describing how last week’s incident unfolded, “Generally, when you do activism events, you get a larger crowd, because that’s the whole point of it — we started drawing in a rather large crowd, bigger than I anticipated, and the crowd, they were angry.”
“It turned into mob mentality pretty quickly,” continued the TPUSA representative, “We had a lot of students yelling at us, calling us every name in the book — one student, in particular, ended up rushing our table, he pulled everything off of it, kicked down our wall and broke it, and pushed one of my students down.”
“The only thing that stopped it from anyone else getting more violent was rain,” said Coffeen, “It started raining. It was almost like a gift from God honestly, and then everyone dispersed.”
Coffeen told Marlow that “it all happened really quickly,” before multiple people called the police. The TPUSA representatives informed the police that the conservative student group would be returning the following day to attempt the activism event again.
“It ended up that we did need [campus police] there,” said Coffeen, describing the second incident that unfolded the next day, “There were probably 200 people — and not all of them were against us — but we got a lot of protesters for a few hours, and we got multiple people that got erratic and got violent also.”
“There was one girl that came, pushed down our wall twice, and it very easily could have hit someone,” added Coffeen, “She tore everything off of our table, and at one point, there was one guy that locked eyes with me and started charging at me — and the only reason he really didn’t get to me is because people stepped in front of him before he did.”
Coffeen described the materials that the conservative group had with them, which focused on the group’s message that capitalism is preferred over socialism, along with a wall display, that had the words “Build the Wall” written on it to show the group’s support for secure borders and American sovereignty.
“It’s kind of ironic, they formed a wall in front of our wall,” added Coffeen.
It definitely encourages me, and shows me that I am doing the right thing. Going into Tuesday after that Monday and the students destroying everything, I was definitely nervous, more nervous than I ever have been doing this job, because I would get the people calling me names — but that’s pretty easy to deal with, it doesn’t bother me much — and then after Tuesday, I just realized we need to keep fighting, it’s important, they’re really trying to shut down our freedom just because they don’t like that people have other ideas. Students get upset with me, thinking they have the moral high-ground, whereas they just really don’t know — they don’t want to listen to why socialism actually kills a country, and why it actually is a moral good for our citizens and for those crossing the border to have a secure border. They just don’t want to listen and it is discouraging sometimes.
Coffeen added that she is not shocked that there seems to be a severe lack of constructive debate happening on college campuses today.
“At first I was [shocked], and it kind of makes me sad to say this, but I’m getting used to it,” said Coffeen, “I literally have someone yelling at me every day, or I have someone spitting on my sign, or telling me I should be ashamed of myself, or that I should be ashamed to live in this country. It’s really sad to me, it’s sad that so many people are taking what we have here for granted.”
The TPUSA representative did note, however, that she feels there is some cause for optimism, and wants conservative students to know that there are many more like-minded individuals on their campuses, even though they may be silent.
“And what I’ve found is that students are shocked — they’re like, ‘I thought I was the only one who felt this way, I thought I was alone,’ You’re not,” said Coffeen, “and so I would just encourage them to speak up more and not be afraid to fight, because it’s important to fight for our freedom here.”