A Christian college in Indiana invited Vice President Mike Pence to speak at its commencement ceremony in May, but members of the university community were not happy with the selection. The university has since stood by its decision to invite the vice president despite some public opposition.
Taylor University, a small Christian college located in Pence’s home state of Indiana, announced his role as the commencement speaker Thursday in a press release, as well as subsequent posts on the school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. University president Dr. Paul Lowell Haines said that his school “ is pleased and honored to welcome to our campus and its 2019 Commencement exercises, Vice President Mike Pence.”
In addition to heralding the vice president’s public service career, Haines said, “Mr. Pence has been a good friend to the University over many years, and is a Christian brother whose life and values have exemplified what we strive to instill in our graduates,” according to the release.
The announcement was met with distaste from a number of members of the university community, many of whom shared their thoughts about the announcement on the school’s social media pages. One alumnus, Washington, D.C. resident Alex Hoekstra, started a Change.org petition calling for people to protest the vice president’s speech because, according to Hoekstra, inviting Pence as the keynote speaker makes “alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration’s policies which … are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear.”
The petition had garnered over 4,000 signatures by the time of publication.
Outside of that petition, members of the university community shared their positive views of the announcement on the school’s social media channels as well.
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