Dozens of graduating seniors and faculty at a Christian College in Mike Pence’s home state protested his delivering the commencement address on Saturday by walking out in the middle of it, according to Newsweek.
The walkout at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. followed a Change.Org petition intended to bar Pence from speaking at graduation entirely.
“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,” the petition read.
“I am signing because Pence is a disgrace to humanity. He gives a bad name to evangelism—proclaiming the Good News. His news proclaims Trump's evil,” wrote one person who signed the petition.
Taylor students who pushed back against Pence speaking at their graduation said the vice president was an inappropriate choice based on the Trump administration’s hateful policies. More than 10,000 people signed the petition but he remained the commencement speaker and was undeterred by his detractors.
Pence delivered a speech that mimicked one he made last week at Liberty University, a private Evangelical school in Virginia, where he suggested that Christians are under attack from the left because of their faith. At Taylor, he told Christian students to remain strong in the face of persecution.
“We will always stand up for the freedom of religion and the right of every American to live, to learn, and to worship according to the dictates of your conscience,” he said, according to Newsweek.
While only a few dozen people walked out during Pence’s speech, many remained wearing buttons that read, “I am Taylor Too,” indicating that the university does not have a one-size-fits-all conservative Christian ideology.