Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

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Dozens of graduates and family members silently stood and walked out as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame's commencement ceremony. The walkout is aimed at not only showing students' dissatisfaction with the school choosing Pence as their final speaker, but also to show "solidarity with all marginalized people affected by Pence's politics, both on this campus and throughout our nation". Thousands of students and faculty members signed a petition asking Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, not to invite President Donald Trump, and the university chose instead to invite Pence, a former IN governor.

Inviting Pence to speak seemed to solve numerous university's concerns, although he still drew protests.

In addition to the walkout, students and alumni have acquired over 500 rainbow flags, symbolising LGBT rights, which will be displayed around the campus ahead of the commencement ceremony.

As governor, Pence tried to block state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in Indiana.

"[Pence has], in the past, been against same-sex marriage because it harms people, which is demonstrably false and really offensive", he said.

Vice-Pres. Mike Pence praised the University of Notre Dame for being a place where free speech has continued with civility, while admonishing other universities that have instituted "safe zones" and "speech codes", as against American tradition.

Co-organizer Bryan Ricketts told CBS News, "Notre Dame is not used to this level of activism".

"It reminds me very much of the Watergate days with the Nixon administration, only it took Richard Nixon five years". The state and local organizations involved in these protests include We Go High!, South Bend Equality, and Michiana Alliance for Democracy.

But the choice of Pence and having him on campus make students feel unsafe, claimed Notre Dame senior Imanne Mondane.

Pence has landed and is now on Interstate 80. At least 70 US bishops and other critics said Obama's support of legal abortion and embryonic stem-cell research made him an inappropriate choice to be the commencement speaker at a Catholic university.

"But as the president said just about a week ago in a ceremony just like this, 'Nothing worth doing ever came easy", Pence said.

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