‘Many’ Notre Dame students ‘feel unsafe’ with Mike Pence as commencement speaker, senior claims

‘Many’ Notre Dame students ‘feel unsafe’ with Mike Pence as commencement speaker, senior claims
A student campaign has been launched against the choice of Republican Vice President Mike Pence as the University of Notre Dame's commencement speaker this spring. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In the wake of Republican Vice President Mike Pence being chosen as the University of Notre Dame’s commencement speaker this spring, a pair of seniors launched a campaign in protest.

“For me personally, represents the larger Trump administration,” Imanne Mondane told the Observer, Notre Dame’s student newspaper, adding that “for many people on our campus, it makes them feel unsafe to have someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity.”

Mondane and fellow senior Jourdyhn Williams devised their #notmycommencementspeaker campaign last week, the paper said, highlighted by photos of students holding whiteboards.

Mondane told the Observer she hopes the campaign encourages students speak up for their rights.

“What we want to do is give a voice to those who have been silenced,” she added to the paper. “It’s not even a matter of feeling like they have been silenced — they have been silenced on our campus and in our country.”

Here are instructions for the photo subjects from the campaign’s Facebook page:

We are inviting all those who would like to participate to take photos, holding a white board in your hands with direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community. You may also write why you feel unsafe with the presence of Mike Pence on our campus. All Seniors and those graduating this may are invited to use the hashtag #NotMyCommencementSpeaker and everyone else is invited to use the hashtag #NotMyVicePresident.

Williams told the Observer that Pence’s actions while governor of Indiana — which Notre Dame calls home — call for protest.

“I know that during his time as governor of Indiana and also during his campaign trail, along with Trump, he has made offensive statements towards minority groups that affect me, like women and African-Americans,” she told the paper.

Williams added to the Observer that Pence as commencement speaker is a violation of the college’s Catholic mission — “something the University likes to broadcast that it stands behind, but it picks and chooses when it wants to stand behind” its mission.

Mondane told the paper she hopes the campaign reaches the powers that be at Notre Dame.

“I think that if you could come across to the people of our campus, the professors, the administrators, to Jenkins, it would be amazing,” she told the Observer. “Maybe then he would … think and act in regards to the other people on our campus who are not white, conservative Catholics.”

(H/T: The Federalist)

235 Comments