#WalkOutND: Students Plan to Protest Pence Speech at Notre Dame University

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#WalkOutND: Students Plan to Protest Pence Speech at Notre Dame University

Activist group at Notre Dame University says walkout meant to show solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students

"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." (Photo: Michael Vadon/flickr/cc)

Students at Notre Dame University are planning to stage a walkout during Vice President Mike Pence's commencement speech there on Sunday, according to ThinkProgress.

An activist group at the Indiana university said they are planning the demonstration to show solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students—all targets of the Trump administration's regressive policies. Pence previously served as governor of Indiana, where he became known for championing rightwing policies against climate action, abortion access, and immigration, among other issues.

The group, We StaND For, told ThinkProgress that students plan to stand up as Pence starts speaking and exit the ceremony, and that 50 to 100 people are expected to take part. Protesters are using the hashtag #WalkOutND to bring awareness to the plans.

"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," We StaND For explained. "All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation."

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Bryan Ricketts, one of the student organizers, told ThinkProgress that the university has been supportive of the group's plans. More than 1,700 alumni signed a letter stating their disappointment with the school's selection of Pence as commencement speaker.

Other local groups are also expected to protest Pence's visit. Off-campus demonstrations are being planned by We Go High!, South Bend Equality, and the Michiana Alliance for Democracy.

Pence is just the latest member of the Trump administration to get an icy welcome for a university visit. Students turned their backs on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she gave a commencement speech Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida just this month.

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