It’s unfortunate that this year’s Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony will always be colored with a negative image of disrespectful behavior that was witnessed by the Vice President Mike Pence.
As if the event had already ended, Notre Dame graduates and family members silently stood and walked out on Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame's commencement ceremony.
The former governor of Indiana was invited to speak after Notre Dame students and faculty protested the prospect of President Trump being invited to become the seventh U.S. president to give the commencement address.
The Vice President applauded the efforts of President Donald Trump as he referenced his speech to the leaders of 50 Arab and Muslim nations earlier in the day in Saudi Arabia. He reiterated on what president Trump spoke out against religious persecution of all people of all faiths and on the world stage.
Mr. Trump also condemned what he termed the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians.
This comes amidst the harsh criticism that Trump faced for his anti-Islamic rhetoric during the campaign, as well as his administration's legal battle to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries.
The scapegoating of Muslims was pointed out by valedictorian Caleb Joshua Pine who called for a stand against the vice.
Among those that walked out were Cassandra Dimaro and her parents. The South Bend Tribune was told by Dimaro that it was a show of solidarity for those impacted by the policies of the Trump administration.
The Vice President did not comment on the incident. However, he mentioned about the clashes at campuses that have derailed appearances by controversial speakers, such as Ann Coulter.
Pence referred to Notre Dame as a vanguard of the freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas, even as free speech and civility are on the decline in campuses across America.