Using the hashtag #WalkOutND, Notre Dame students are organizing a walkout of Vice President Mike Pence’s scheduled commencement speech at the school.
The plan is for fifty to one hundred students to get up and quietly leave the commencement as soon as Pence starts to speak.
“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 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. “All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.”
Although some have criticized the students for being “scared” of political disagreement, Bryan Ricketts, one of the We StaND For student organizers, has insisted that those protesting have legitimate reasons and that the university has been supportive of the planned walkout: “They know we intend to express our disagreement in a way that is respectful but we also want a commencement that respects us.”
In addition to the walkout, local groups plan to protest Pence’s speech, though they will do so off-campus.