Students walk out of Mike Pence's commencement address

Pence previously served as governor of IN, where he became known for championing rightwing policies against climate action, abortion access, and immigration, among other issues.

In a news item on its website, the university said that approximately 100 students participated in the walkout. Seconds before the students walked out, the administrator said people could disagree with Pence's politics but still respect him as an official.

A religious social conservative, Pence is a former IN governor who was born IN the state and also served as one of its representatives IN Congress for 12 years.

Vice President Mike Pence urged graduating students at a Pennsylvania college to become leaders and cited President Donald Trump's "leadership and perseverance" as an example.

In his remarks at the IN university, the vice president criticized what he called campus "safe spaces" and urged students not to suppress free speech. "These all-too-common practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, and they are wholly outside of the American tradition".

"He has supported policies that have targeted the weakest and most vulnerable among us", said graduate student Luis Miranda, a member of the group, told NBC affiliate WNDU before the protest.

The school invited Pence to speak after students signed a petition against having President Trump speak at the commencement. As a gay man, this directly impacted me.

Pence's press secretary, noted that the students who walked out made up a small percentage of the graduates.

A number of prominent Republicans have faced student opposition at commencement speeches this graduation season. The AP notes that six presidents have given commencement addresses at Notre Dame, and it's been traditionally an event for a president's first year in office. In 2009, former President Barack Obama's commencement address at the university sparked protests by antiabortion advocates, who marched outside the university's gates.

Pence received his bachelor's degree from Indiana's Hanover College and attended Indiana University School of Law.

  • Salvatore Jensen