Dozens of students and faculty at Taylor University in Indiana walked out as soon as Vice President Mike Pence was set to give a speech at a graduation ceremony.
According to the Indianapolis Star, students had protested prior to the ceremony after learning that Pence would be one of the speakers.
Most of Taylor’s graduating class of 494 students remained for Pence’s speech and gave the former Indiana GOP governor a standing ovation after the walkout, the newspaper reported.
Laura Rathburn, who decorated her cap with a rainbow and a message that said “Ally Visible For Those Who Can’t Be,” said she was disappointed with Taylor University’s decision to invite Pence.
“I thought it was a really inappropriate decision. I think his presence makes it difficult for everyone at Taylor to feel welcomed,” she told the Star before the ceremony.
Various Change.org petitions garnered thousands of signatures asking the university to rescind Pence’s invitation.
“Inviting Vice President Pence to Taylor University and giving him a coveted platform for his political views makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear,” one said.
“I knew it was going to be rough because he’s such a large political figure and this administration’s made some very unpopular and sometimes like harmful decision for people,” graduate Jennifer Nelson told the Star. “We have students from all over the world and like even students who have been impacted by some of this administration — not just the presidency but by Pence when he was governor here.”