Tags: mike pence | notre dame | commencement | protest

Mike Pence Notre Dame Commencement Speech Draws Protests

Image: Mike Pence Notre Dame Commencement Speech Draws Protests

Notre Dame graduates walk out of Notre Dame Stadium in protest as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the 2017 commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in South Bend, Indiana. Inset: Vice President Mike Pence (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

By    |   Monday, 22 May 2017 11:02 AM

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to graduates at the University of Notre Dame Sunday despite some graduates walking out of the speech in protest.

About 150 people, roughly half students and half others people in the audience, quietly left Notre Dame Stadium as the vice president took the stage, the South Bend Tribune reported. Some booed in the audience as the students left the field.

Notre Dame officials said, though, that a record crowd of an estimated 24,000 graduates, employees and guests in Notre Dame Stadium attended the graduation.

"Notre Dame is a campus where deliberation is welcomed, where opposing views are debated, and where every speaker, no matter how unpopular or unfashionable, is afforded the right to air their views in the open for all to hear," Pence said in his commencement remarks, according to the Tribune.

We StaND For, a coalition of student activist groups, called for the walkout protest over policies Pence pushed for as Indiana's governor that targeted the poor, according to The Washington Post. Pence had launched a bid for re-election in Indiana before he was tapped as President Donald Trump's running mate.

"Personally, I know Mike Pence's policies from his time as governor, when he tried to implement RFRA (The Religious Freedom Restoration Act) without civil rights protections for LGBTQ people," graduate Bryan Ricketts, told CNN regarding why he planned to walk out on the vice president's speech.

"As a gay man, this directly impacted me. However, many graduates here have been directly targeted by other policies – for example, those students and their families who are undocumented and who risk deportation to celebrate this milestone in their lives," Ricketts continued.

Pence did not directly address the Notre Dame protest, but complained about protests at other college campuses that he said stifled speech freedoms, the South Bend Tribune noted.

"Far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness, all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech," the vice president said.

Pence sent out a Twitter post after his speech.

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Vice President Mike Pence spoke to graduates at the University of Notre Dame Sunday despite some graduates walking out of the speech in protest.
mike pence, notre dame, commencement, protest
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2017-02-22
Monday, 22 May 2017 11:02 AM
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