Vice President Mike Pence delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. As promised, students walked out of their own commencement because Mr. Pence is a bad, bad man—or something. In truth, they’re opposed to the Trump administration policies. That’s fine. Sitting in the audience doesn’t make you an accomplice to any of that. It’s a commencement address. You’re not being indoctrinated through Two Minutes of Hate, or whatever you might think with this speech.
Luckily, it looks like it was only few dozen students, an extreme minority, while others awaited the vice president’s address. Mr. Pence did touch upon how Notre Dame was a beacon for intellectualism, free speech, and the exchange of ideas. He also said that silence couldn’t be the response to the anti-free speech antics that are engulfing American academia and other institutions of learning. So, nice work, snowflake brigade—you’re all so brave.
The New York Times account juxtaposes Mr. Pence’s words about freedom of speech and expression with that of the students’ antics:
As several dozen students in caps and gowns quietly exited the graduation ceremony, the vice president praised Notre Dame, one of the nation’s most prominent Catholic universities, as “a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.” Other schools do not measure up, he said.
“While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness — all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech,” he said. “These all-too-common practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, and they are wholly outside the America tradition.”
Luis Miranda, 29, a protester who graduated from a master’s program at Notre Dame, said the students who walked out objected to Mr. Pence’s role in the Trump administration as well as his record as an Indiana congressman and governor, when he opposed admitting Syrian refugees and rights for unauthorized immigrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Protest organizers estimated that more than 100 people had walked out. On social media, many could be seen wearing rainbow pins or flags, which were also hung from windows around the campus as a symbol of gay pride.
“If it was just five of us, we would have thought we were successful because we were doing the right thing,” Mr. Miranda said. “The fact that so many people showed up was mind-blowing.”
In a statement posted online last week, the organizers invoked Catholic social teaching and the example of Pope Francis, known for his ecumenical spirit and common touch, to explain their opposition to Mr. Pence and his politics.
First, progressive groups citing Pope Francis, who is anti-abortion and pro-traditional marriage, in opposition to Mr. Pence’s presence at Notre Dame is rich. Second, there were 2,081 diplomas handed out yesterday. Only 100 kids left the speech in protest. That’s not “mind-blowing” at all.
Full address here: