As soon as Vice President Mike Pence began to address the Class of 2017 at Notre Dame on Sunday, a group of about 100 graduates got up and left.
When the school announced in March that Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was going to be the commencement speaker, the student organization WeStaNDFor decided to take action, the Indy Star reports. In a statement, the group said it was protesting Pence's opposition to gay rights, his attempts as governor to keep Syrian refugees from moving to Indiana, and his backing of President Trump's travel ban.
Valedictorian C.J. Pine received a standing ovation as he talked about the time he spent with Syrian refugees and called for freedom of religion and equal rights. "If we are going to build walls against American students and international students, then I am skewered on the fence," he said. Pence, the first vice president to give the commencement address at Notre Dame, used part of his 15-minute speech to rail against what he sees as "the suppression of freedom of speech" at some college campuses.