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Graduates Walk Out Over VP Pence Speech

Graduates Walk Out Over VP Pence SpeechGraduates Walk Out Over VP Pence Speech

A group of Notre Dame graduates walked out of their graduation ceremony Sunday in protest against US Vice President Mike Pence and his policies.

Pence was delivering the commencement speech after receiving an honorary degree from the Catholic university located in his home state of Indiana, CNN reported.

Videos showed some students standing as Pence took the podium, then walking out of the ceremony and gathering outside Notre Dame Stadium, where they held a short alternative “graduation ceremony”.

The protest action was planned ahead of the ceremony, with activist group We Stand For saying Pence’s policies as vice president and as former Indiana governor targeted marginalized people on the basis of their religion or skin color.

In a news item on its website, the university said that approximately 100 students participated in the walkout while 146 people were involved.

Introducing Pence, University President Rev. John I. Jenkins said “political leaders are necessary for society, and we must strive with them to serve the common good”.

Referring to “a fractured nation, with deep divisions and raw political feelings”, Jenkins said injustice must be challenged.

“But we must also listen to those who disagree, care for the bonds that join us together and find ways to build a society where all can flourish–even the people who don’t look like us, think like us, or vote with us.”

Pence told the assembled graduates that Notre Dame was a “vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas”.

“While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe spaces, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness—all of which amounts to the suppression of free speech,” Pence said.

“These practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge.”

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