Over 100 Notre Dame students walk out of Mike Pence’s commencement speech

President Trump was going to be asked to give the speech, but thousands of students signed a petition demanding the university not invite him.

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More than 100 students graduating from Notre Dame walked out of their graduation ceremony over the weekend in protest of commencement speaker Vice President Mike Pence.

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The students, part of the student activist group We StaND For, announced their plans to peacefully walk out during Pence’s address beforehand:

“During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.”

Students participating in the walkout left quietly as Pence began his speech.

Pence’s speech consisted of discussing Trump’s policies since taking office, specifically his “religious freedom” executive order, which could potentially lead to setbacks in LGBTQ equality.

Notre Dame valedictorian C.J. Pine, who spoke before Pence, called for religious freedom in his speech, stating “Our generation must stand against the scapegoating of Muslims.”

Initially, President Trump was going to be asked to give the speech, but after thousands of students signed a petition asking the university not to invite the new president, Notre Dame decided to invite Pence instead. Over 1,000 Notre Dame alumni penned a letter to express their disappointment in the decision to invite Pence as commencement speaker.

Notre Dame is the largest Catholic university in the country, with 85% of it’s students identifying as Catholic, and is located in South Bend, Indiana, the state that Pence served as governor for 4 years.

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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

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