Vice President Mike Pence is set to give a commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame this Sunday serving as sort of a homecoming for Pence who used to serve as governor of Indiana. Many from the campus and the state would be happy and proud to welcome back a favorite son who’s now visiting holding the second highest post in America. But a group of students- not the entire student population- would rather spoil the Vice President’s speech with a planned walk out of Pence’s remarks on Sunday.
The student activist group organizing the protest said around 50 to 100 people could join the snub of Pence on Sunday. The group is ditching the opportunity for a dialogue with Pence with the walk out and instead enumerated, what they think are Pence’s “sins” starting when he was Indiana governor all the way now that he is the country’s Vice President. The group named StaND For said that as governor and now Vice President, Pence supposedly targeted the civil rights protections of members of the LGBT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported what they think is an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities.
The group said that they believe all of those said policies have marginalized their vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.
Bryan Ricketts, organizer of the student protest, guaranteed, however, that they intend to express their disagreement in a way that is respectful, but that they also want a commencement that “respect them.”
More than 1,700 alumni signed a letter expressing their disagreement over the choice of Pence as a speaker.
Notre Dame noted in its announcement of the choice of Pence as commencement speaker that he will be the first sitting vice president to give a commencement speech in the campus. The university is also planning to award the former Indiana Republican governor with an honorary degree.
The University of Notre Dame said in March it is fitting that in the 175th year of the school’s founding on Indiana soil that Notre Dame recognize a son who served the state and the nation with quiet earnestness, moral conviction and a dedication to the common good characteristic of true statesmen. The university president, Rev. John Jenkins also added that with his own brand of reserved dignity, Mike Pence instilled confidence on the state level, and on the world stage now. He said Notre Dame is proud to welcome Pence represent the new administration.