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Notre Dame students plan walkout during Pence's commencement address


U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters Jan. 6 in New York. The White House has confirmed that Pence will address the Jan. 27 March for Life rally in Washington. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) -- A student activist coalition at the University of Notre Dame that opposes Vice President Mike Pence as this year's commencement speaker called for students to walk out of the May 21 ceremony when he begins his address.

In a May 15 tweet labeled "Taking back our commencement," the group We StaND For invited graduates and others to "sit with a friend on your college. Stand up and walk out once Mike Pence starts to speak. Respectfully and quietly exit the stadium. Join us for a short commencement celebration."

Earlier We StaND For announced members would protest Pence as a representative of the Trump administration and also for policies he supported as Indiana's governor, including a religious freedom law and a bill to restrict abortion.

"Students who indicated they would protest by leaving the commencement ceremony when the vice president speaks met with the Notre Dame police chief this week and assured her they would leave quietly and respectively," Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, said May 18.

"They also sought her advice as to which exit to use upon leaving. They are being cooperative, which was our expectation from the start," Browne added in an email sent to Catholic News Service.

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