Students to stage walkout of Pence speech

A student activist group at the University of Notre Dame says it plans on staging a walkout of Vice President Pence’s commencement speech this Sunday.

Student organizers told ThinkProgress that 50 to 100 people could walk out of Pence’s remarks Sunday.

“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 to ThinkProgress Friday.

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

We StaND For is comprised of Notre Dame seniors, ThinkProgress reported, and protesters are using the hashtag #WalkOutND to hype the event on social media.

Organizer Bryan Ricketts said that “it’s a very legitimate thing for people to be scared” of Pence.

“Some students are undocumented and some parents are driving to see their kid graduate because they can’t get on a plane,” 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,” Ricketts added of Notre Dame’s administrative response.

Over 1,700 Notre Dame alumni signed a letter last week voicing disappointment over the school’s selection of Pence as a speaker.

Notre Dame said in a statement in March that Pence will be the first sitting vice president to give a commencement speech there. Indiana's former Republican governor will also receive an honorary degree.