Students at the University of Notre Dame are planning to walk out of Vice President Mike Pence's commencement speech Sunday.
We StaND For, a student activist group, is organizing the protest. Event organizers anticipate 50 to 100 people will stand up and leave the graduation ceremony when Pence, the former governor of Indiana, begins speaking, according to Think Progress.
"During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as vice president, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of the LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities," the group said in a statement. "All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation."
We StaND For is encouraging those participating in the walkout to promote the demonstration on social media by using the hashtag #WalkOutND.
In addition to sparking backlash from students, Notre Dame's decision to invite Pence to address graduates also earned the ire of alumni.
More than 1,700 graduates of the South Bend, Indiana, university signed a letter to the class of 2017 protesting his selection as commencement speaker.
"Vice President Pence has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of concern for the common good and the values promoted by Notre Dame," the alumni wrote. "Therefore, we are writing this letter in solidarity with every student, faculty and staff member who is marginalized or threatened by Vice President Pence's words and deeds, and the policies and rhetoric of the current White House administration.
Local activist groups are also planning to protest Pence's speech off of the South Bend campus.