Notre Dame students plan walkout during Pence speech

Notre Dame students plan walkout during Pence speech

Mark Wilson Getty Images Mike Pence

Some students at the University of Notre Dame are planning a walkout when Vice President Mike Pence gives the commencement speech this Sunday.

Other protesters near campus plan on joining in. We StaND For said Pence's stance on the LGBTQ community, undocumented immigrants, and sanctuary cities factored into their decision to walk out from his speech. "We want to make it a graduation that's respectful of the students".

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

"The participation and degree-conferring of VP Pence stand as an endorsement of policies and actions which directly contradict Catholic social teachings and values and target vulnerable members of the University's community", Xitlaly Estrada, a Notre Dame undergraduate, said in a release from We StaND For. The effort is being organized via a Facebook page and students are using the hashtag #WalkOutND.

"During his time as governor of the state of IN and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities", said the student activist group organizing the protest, We StaND For, IN a statement explaining its decision to stage the walkout.

Students plan to stand up when Pence begins speaking and quietly leave the ceremony.

Browne told the Indy Star that school officials will only intervene if the protest "seriously disrupted" Pence's speech or put safety at risk. The state and local organizations involved in these protests include We Go High!, South Bend Equality, and Michiana Alliance for Democracy.

"April Lidinsky of the Planned Parenthood group (she's also a professor at Indiana University South Bend in Women's & Gender Studies - surprise that), says the rally will be an "'unwelcome home' celebration for the former governor".

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