Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Pence cites Trump's 'leadership' in commencement address

North Korea Pence cites Trump's 'leadership' in commencement address
Ron Matthews | 22 May, 2017, 00:16

Pence's remarks began as students walked out, but he did not address the elephant leaving the room - instead addressing religious liberty, President Donald Trump's Sunday morning speech in Saudi Arabia and encouraging leadership in broad strokes terms.

A group called Slippery Rock Huddle says it will have about 300 people protesting Pence's arrival, but the group does not plan on disrupting the graduation ceremony.

The Vice President, an unashamed Christian, encouraged the graduates to lead with character and courage.

"I think it's a disgrace", said Nataline Duffy, who was in attendance with her husband Thomas from New Jersey to watch their son graduate. Ricketts told IndyStar that many of his peers were "upset and hurt" by the school's decision to invite Pence because his "policies have impacted the humanity of certain graduates". "If we are going to build walls against American students and worldwide students, then I am skewered on the fence", he said, a reference to Trump and Pence's immigrations policies.

Pence is hardly the first elected official to face a protest at a university commencement, and he is not the first member of President Donald Trump's cabinet to face a tough crowd.

Dozens of protesters from the Slippery Rock Huddle, the Grove City College Advocates for Inclusion and Acceptance and the Democratic Women of Mercer County gathered on Main Street.

We Stand For, the student activist group that planned the protest, said that the former IN governor and his policies attack marginalized people.

Pence was the governor of IN from 2013 until January 2017, shortly before he assumed the vice presidency.

In response, Notre Dame President the Rev. John I. Jenkins issued a statement urging Americans to welcome Syrian refugees, noting they were being forced to flee their homeland because of unending violence.

The university is not particularly anxious about the protest.

"We've certainly had hundreds doing that when President Obama was here", Notre Dame Vice-President for Communications and Public Affairs Paul Browne said.

Trump has made fighting terrorism a top priority, and his overall budget outline calls for significant increases in military spending.

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

Luis Miranda, a co-organizer of the walkout, said Pence, as IN governor and as vice president, targeted vulnerable people with his policies. "It's a peaceful, respectful protest", Hegedus said.

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