It’s a strenuous time to be a campus snowflake. For a University of Notre Dame snowflake, doubly so.
As colleges near graduation season, liberals at Notre Dame are launching a campaign to protest Vice President Mike Pence from delivering this year’s commencement address using the hashtag #NotMyCommencementSpeaker.
Seniors Imanne Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams, who launched the campaign, told the Observer that Pence’s scheduled visit and speech is silencing certain minorities on campus.
“For me personally, [Pence] represents the larger Trump administration,” Mondane said to the Observer. “His administration represents something, and for many people on our campus, it makes them feel unsafe to have someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity.”
The #NotMyCommencementSpeaker campaign involves students getting their photo taken “holding a white board in [their] hands with direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community.”
Here’s a sample collage from Mondane:
Williams believes that the campaign’s been successful in a large part to its visual aspect of using white boards.
“It’s hard getting out there to get people to discussions that you want to be there,” Williams said to the Observer. “A lot of times they don’t come until you show them ‘this is my face, this is how it’s affecting me,’ and so we wanted to make sure it was something that impacted everyone, and not just those who are interested in coming to these things.”
Normally, Notre Dame invites the President of the United States to deliver the commencement speech in the first year of their presidency. However, due to the stiff resistance against Donald Trump, college administrators invited Pence instead.
Williams continued. “I feel that is offensive to such a large population here at Notre Dame, and I also believe it goes against certain Catholic Social Teaching, which is something the University likes to broadcast that it stands behind, but it picks and chooses when it wants to stand behind them.”
On the bright side for Pence, some Notre Dame students protested the 2009 commencement when then-President Obama in his first year delivered an address. Perhaps they’re just a tough crowd.