- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence’s scheduled commencement speech at Notre Dame has prompted a protest campaign by seniors who feel “unsafe.”

Members of the “The Fighting Irish’s” class of 2017 are frightened by Mr. Pence and have started a “#NotMyCommencementSpeaker” campaign against his May 21 address. Seniors Immane Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams created the whiteboard protest, which includes pictures of students holding up anti-Pence messages.

“For me personally, [Mr. Pence] represents the larger Trump administration,” Ms. Mondane told school’s newspaper, The Observer, on Monday. “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.”

A Facebook group asks students to show up to photo sessions throughout the week. White boards are to be filled with “direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community.”

#NotMyCommencementSpeaker comes in conjunction with protests by other student groups, such as the Diversity Council and the College Democrats, Campus Reform reported Monday.

Mr. Pence will also receive an honorary degree at the event.

“It is fitting that in the 175th year of our founding on Indiana soil that Notre Dame recognize a native son who served our state and now the nation with quiet earnestness, moral conviction and a dedication to the common good characteristic of true statesmen,” said Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins in a statement released March 2. “With his own brand of reserved dignity, Mike Pence instilled confidence on the state level then, and on the world stage now. We are proud to welcome him to represent the new administration.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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