Mike Pence took the stage at Notre Dame’s commencement on Sunday and more than 100 students quietly walked out in protest.
The protest was planned weeks ago when Notre Dame first announced that the VP would be their 2017 graduation speaker.
via USA Today:
Bryan Ricketts, who served as Notre Dame’s student body president from 2015-16 and graduated Sunday with a dual-degree in political science and chemical engineering, was one of the leaders. Ricketts told IndyStar that many of his peers were “upset and hurt” by the school’s decision to invite Pence because his “policies have impacted the humanity of certain graduates.”
About 100-plus students filed out of gates 27 and 28 of Notre Dame Stadium. They knew that once they left graduation, they would not be able to re-enter.
WeStaNDFor explained in a release that they are primarily protesting Pence’s opposition to gay rights, his attempts as governor to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Indiana, his support of President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban, and his opposition to sanctuary cities that do not enforce federal immigration laws.
The group posted instructions for how to walkout on their website:
“Walk away from Pence quietly, in confidence, with your head up high, taking your time. Embrace the moment, maybe even hold hands/lock arms with those joining you.”
Students had previously met with the Notre Dame police chief to figure out the most peaceful and “respectful” way to exit the stadium, Ricketts said. The university was aware of the protests ahead of time. Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, said in a statement that they’d only intervene “if the ceremony was seriously disrupted or anyone’s safety was put at risk.”
Check out the video below.