Notre Dame students plan walkout during Pence speech

Students say they are expressing solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students affected by Pence's policies.

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage at Notre Dame University's commencement to address the recent graduates - but some of the university's students are making it clear he won't have their support.

A student at the Pennsylvania school published an an opinion piece in The New York Times that said there have been protests of his visit. A Christian politician is not one who builds power by fueling toxic, fear-inflating rhetoric.

The March 2 announcement of Pence as the Commencement speaker was met with mixed reactions across campus, with students and community members both coming to Pence's defense and protesting against what they consider to be his record of exclusionary policies.

Paul Browne, a spokesperson for Notre Dame, said walkout organizers reached out to police and administrators ahead of time to plan the quiet proceedings. "And anyone who thinks they can will always hear from those who are sure they can't", he said.

Other protesters near campus plan on joining in.

But while Jenkins didn't invite Trump, inviting his second in command (who will be the first VP to give the commencement address) doesn't seem to have had the desired effect, as some students are planning to walk out of the ceremony once Pence arrives at the lectern.

As of the afternoon of May 19, more than 100 people indicated on the Facebook event page that they would attend, while more than 300 people marked that they were interested.

"We welcome anyone who wants to walk out with us", said organizer Bryan Ricketts, a 2017 graduate.

Among Hegedus' issues with the vice president: His support for a controversial religious liberty bill and his attempt to ban Syrian refugees from the state as governor. "We're not protesting Notre Dame at all", Lidinski said.

While there have been many protests lined up, Jaskowski said he felt it was an incorrect assumption to believe the University community was completely against the decision to select Pence as the Commencement speaker.

"Vice President Pence has a right to speak anywhere he's invited, it's not a question of any of that", said Hegedus. "It's just a chance to show our opposition to some of the policies that we feel are against human and environmental rights". Participants have been instructed to stay on public property and not to interfere with commencement in any way.

Jaskowski said he hopes those protesting Pence's invitation still listen to what the vice president has to say.