Dozens of students at Indiana’s Notre Dame University walked out in protest during Vice-President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at their graduation ceremony, Sunday.
The planned protest was organized by activist group ‘We Stand For’ who called on others on Facebook to join them in expressing their dissatisfaction with the university’s choice of honorary speaker.
“We will walk out in dignity and solidarity with all marginalized people affected by Pence’s politics, both on this campus and throughout our nation,” they said in advance of the demonstration.
Footage of the incident shows some students walk out as Pence begins his speech. Their fellow students look around, some amused while others boo at the demonstration.
Pence continues without addressing the walk-out.
Some of the students wore rainbow colored sashes in solidarity with the LGBT community.
Prior to the event more than 1,700 Notre Dame alums signed a letter condemning the university’s speaker selection.
“Vice President Pence has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of concern for the common good and the values promoted by Notre Dame,” it said.
The student walk-out has been met with mixed reaction online. Some Twitter users called the young people a “global inspiration” while others called the reaction childish and a show of intolerance of different opinions.
If you haven’t seen the Notre Dame walkout on the Pence speech, it’s powerful. A new generation of activism! #resist
— Pete (@peteginsd) May 21, 2017
The walk out by the Notre Dame students will look great on a resume!
• walked out of graduation because I cant tolerate different opinions
— Michael Jones (@MichaelJonesAU) May 21, 2017
Notre Dame traditionally selects the new president for its commencement ceremony, but this year chose Pence, who previously served as governor of Indiana.
“This university is a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at a time, sadly, when free speech and civility are waning on campuses across America,” he told the graduating class during the commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame.