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Christian university says it will not cave to backlash from outraged students, still plans to host Vice President Pence for commencement


Sorry, snowflakes

Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Taylor University in Indiana will still host Vice President Mike Pence as its keynote speaker at the Christian university's commencement ceremony despite opposition from angry students and former students.

What happened?

Last week, dueling petitions emerged concerning Pence's scheduled appearance: One demanded that the school revoke its invitation for the vice president to speak during the commencement ceremony, and the other was a counter-petition.

Alex Hoekstra, an alumnus of the university, created the initial petition demanding that Pence be removed as a commencement speaker and insisted that by allowing Pence to speak at the school would make the university "complicit in the Trump-Pence administration's policies."

Another former student added that she was so shaken by the announcement that she felt "physically ill."

"I have never been made to feel so physically ill by an email before. Taylor University, you should be ashamed of yourselves," Claire Hadley wrote in a Facebook post. "I am physically shaking. The fact that the school who claims to love and support me, and each of it's [sic] students and alum, would invite such a vile individual to speak on the most important day of the year??"

A portion of the counter-petition read, "By Pence speaking at this upcoming graduation, Taylor is by no means aligning themselves with the alleged controversial views of the Trump administration, they are simply giving a voice to all opinions and planes of thought."

So what's the school saying now?

In a statement, university spokesperson James Garringer said that Pence would still be slated to speak at the college despite the petitions and negative feedback.

Garringer told the Independent Journal Review, "Since making the announcement of Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming commencement speech, we have received feedback from people on either side of the issue. Taylor University is an intentional Christian community that strives to encourage positive, respectful, and meaningful dialogue."

"We look forward to hosting the vice president next month," Garringer added.

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