Notre Dame has invited eleven previous presidents to speak at commencement during their first year in office, but decided not to invite President Trump this year. Some students at Notre Dame, immune to irony, say that Trump’s “utter lack of respect for opposing viewpoints” render him “unfit to set foot on our campus.” And apparently, they think the same of Vice President Pence.
CampusReform(h/t Ellen H) University of Notre Dame students have begun a “#NotMyCommencementSpeaker” white board campaign to protest the invitation of Vice President Mike Pence to speak at Commencement. ND traditionally invites the new U.S. President during his first year in office, but chose Pence instead after student preemptively protested the possibility of inviting Donald Trump.
Last week, seniors Immane Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams invited students to take photos holding white boards with “direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community,” along with the hashtag “#NotMyCommencementSpeaker.”
Alternatively, students could also write about why they “feel unsafe with the presence of Mike Pence on our campus,” with daily opportunities to have photos taken with their whiteboards through the week.
“For me personally, [Pence] represents the larger Trump administration,” Mondane told The Observer. “His administration represents something, and for many people on our campus, it makes them feel unsafe to have someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity.”
One student used a quote from Pence favoring traditional marriage, writing on their board, “‘Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal status with heterosexual marriage’ -Pence #NotMyCommencementSpeaker.”
Another read, “Because I am the daughter of Immigrants Family [sic] of LGBTQ folks.”