JUST IN: Notre Dame Students Plan Uprising At VP Pence’s Commencement Speech

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Not only are American growing tired of Donald Trump, they’ve apparently also had enough of Vice President Mike Pence, too. So much, in fact, that a group of students from the University of Notre Dame are planning to stage a walkout during his  commencement address this weekend.

A group of students organizing the event told ThinkProgress that 50 to 100 students are expected to walkout of their commencement celebration on Sunday, in protest of the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and anti-women agenda. Walkout organizers believe members of all communities should feel welcome at their commencement, and that having Pence deliver the address would cause some graduates to feel unwelcome.

The event is being organized by a student activist group call We StaND. In a statement to ThinkProgess, the group explained:

‘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. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.’

The statement goes on to point out:

‘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. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.’

According to reports, students in attendance plan to stand up and walk out as Pence begins his address. The group is using the hashtag #WalkOutND to spread the message across various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Accoring to Bryan Ricketts, one of the student organizers planning the protest, Trump and Pence’s policies have very real implications for a lot of students, ones that they might not be confronted with on a day-to-day basis. He told ThinkProgress:

‘Some students are undocumented and some parents are driving to see their kids graduate because they can’t get on a plane.’

If you can’t help but wonder if this protest could turn rowdy like some of the ones following President Trump’s inauguration, you may have the wrong idea in mind. According to Ricketts, students still want to respect their school and enjoy their commencement. He said the school is supporting of their protest because: “They know we intend to express our disagreement in a way that is respectful but we also want a commencement that respects us.”

Approximately 1,700 alumni signed a petition expressing their disapproval of the choice to have Pence as the commencement speaker.

Pence will be the first vice president to deliver a commencement speech at the Notre Dame, according to a statement from the university. The former Governor of Indiana will also receive an honorary degree.

Former President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame after assuming office in 2009, where even he was faced with protests from graduates.

Featured Image via Getty Images/Justin Sullivan.