University Students Plotting Walkout for Pence’s Commencement Speech


University of Notre Dame students plan to walkout during Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at the school this coming Sunday.

As many as 100 individuals are projected to take part in the demonstration, which aims to express solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students affected by Pence’s policies, student organizers told ThinkProgress.

“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 [the] LGBT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities,” We StaND For said in a statement Friday.

“All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.”

The activist group, “We StaND For,” is comprised of Notre Dame seniors and protesters, which have been promoting the staged walkout on social media sites using the hashtag #WalkOutND.

Organizer Bryan Ricketts told reporters, “Some students are undocumented and some parents are driving to see their kid graduate because they can’t get on a plane.”

When asked by how Notre Dame’s administrative staff is reacting to the planned walkout, he said, “They know we intend to express our disagreement in a way that is respectful but we also want a commencement that respects us.”

According to The Hill, Notre Dame issued a statement that Pence will be the first sitting vice president to give a commencement address at its campus and will be the recipient of an honorary degree.

Over 1,700 Notre Dame alumni signed a letter last week voicing disgust over their university choosing Pence to be its commencement speaker.

Several other protests are expected to take place off-campus in response to his Pence’s Notre Dame appearance.

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