Some graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame walked out of their own graduation ceremony to protest Vice President Mike Pence when he began to deliver the commencement speech Sunday morning.

Pence was chosen to give the commencement address at the nation’s most prominent Catholic university – even though the school ordinarily invites newly inaugurated presidents to give the address in their first year of office. Thousands of students and faculty members signed a petition asking Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, not to invite President Trump, and the university chose instead to invite Pence, a former Indiana governor.

A coalition of student activist groups at Notre Dame called We StaND For planned a walkout to protest policies Pence pursued as governor that they say targeted the most vulnerable.

Pence was planning to seek re-election as governor when Trump selected him to be his vice presidential running mate in the summer of 2016, but Pence was unpopular at the time in his own state and many thought he would lose his re-election bid.

School officials knew of the student walkout plans and did not try to stop them. More than 100 students quietly walked out.

The Notre Dame protest was far smaller than that faced by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos when she recently delivered the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college in Florida.

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