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Protests erupt over Pence's invitation to speak at university commencement

Vice President Mike Pence.
Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

More than 5,900 people — many of whom are alumni and current students — have signed a petition urging Taylor University, an evangelical school in rural Indiana, to rescind its invitation for Vice President Mike Pence to deliver the commencement address next month, reports the Washington Post.

"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’s author, Alex Hoekstra, who graduated from Taylor in 2007, wrote

Details: According to the Post, the university's divided faculty voted 61-49 last week, condemning Pence's invitation.

  • Pence, who has defended or been silent on a number of President Trump's controversial policies, faced similar protests when more than 100 students at Notre Dame, a Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana, walked out during his 2017 commencement speech.

In his announcement last week about the school's selection, Taylor University's president, Paul Lowell Haines, called Pence a "good friend to the University ... [and] a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates."

Why it matters: Per the Washington Post: Pence's planned appearance at the religiously affiliated school "has become a lightning rod in the intensifying debate over faith and politics."

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