While most keynote speakers at commencement serve as a welcomed highlight doling out sage advice before graduates are released into the world, over 100 scholars at Notre Dame decided they would rather not. 

On Sunday, Notre Dame student activist organization WeStaNDFor executed the silent protest grabbing their belongings, swiftly turning their backs, and exiting the event in a single file line the moment Pence opened his mouth.  

The statement was nuanced but the messages were clear. 

Some students wondered why Vice President Pence, whose controversial stances include a feverish obsession with disenfranchising the LGBTQ community, the wombs of women, and being unconvinced that smoking cigarettes cause cancer, was invited in the first place. 

 “… it is an egregious insult to invite Pence to speak at the celebration of the accomplishments of university graduates, many of whom are LGBTQ, first-generation, low-income, and people of color he has actively supported legislation against,” said protester Jenn Cha. 

The Vice President continued his speech without addressing the public silent treatment and university officials were mum having previously stated that they were sure the new graduates would express themselves in a respectful manner. 

Like the recent Bethune-Cookman vs. Betsy DeVos graduation showdown, this demonstration marks the most recent display of new graduates standing in opposition of the beleaguered administration.