Notre Dame bumps up security ahead of Mike Pence's visit, planned protests


"They didn't have to agree with everything Vice President Pence said, you know, but to stand up and walk out in the middle of your own graduation takes away from your friends, your classmates, makes it all about you", said Ken Munro.

The Washington Post pointed out that the protest was much smaller than what some other members of the Trump team have faced when they showed up to deliver commencement speeches, such as education secretary Betsy DeVos in Florida.

In his speech at the IN school, Pence squarely addressed the festering controversy of what constitutes free speech on campus, an issue that has intensified at many universities since Trump's election victory previous year. About 3,100 students participated in the commencement exercise.

The Catholic university traditionally invites the current US president of the United States to give the commencement address during his first year in office.

As the vice president was introduced as the key note speaker, some of the graduates stood up and walked out.

"Far too many campuses across America have been characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness all of which amounts to nothing less than the suppression of the freedom of speech", Pence told the audience at the campus in South Bend.

A few people also booed as the vice president began his address at the Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana, according to the report.

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The students who walked out held an alternative ceremony by themselves outside the premises. Pence said the president "spoke out against religious persecution of all people of all faiths and on the world stage he condemned, in his words, the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians".

Liz Hynes said that Pence represented the kind of intolerance Notre Dame had sought to eliminate.

During his address, Pence slammed the "noxious wave" of "administration-sanctioned political correctness" sweeping across United States college campuses and praised Notre Dame as an island in a "sea of conformity".

Pence continues without addressing the walk-out.

Pence received his bachelor's degree from Indiana's Hanover College and attended Indiana University School of Law.

Notre Dame graduate Griffin Hilly is from Chicago's diverse Albany Park neighborhood. "His hateful rhetoric towards people of color, his embrace of sexual assault, and his utter lack of respect for opposing viewpoints not only render him unfit for the Oval Office, but unfit to set foot on our campus", the petition said.