Notre Dame expresses politics on and off its graduation stage

Published: May. 21, 2017 at 6:42 PM EDT
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Expressing your opinion, and listening to others. It was a theme repeated by commencement speakers and protesters alike.

Outside the stadium, protesters gathered to express their issues.

"Lead issues," One protester said. "Issues with contaminated water."

"The things that this administration has stood for," another said.

"To make sure that we take care of those on the margins," Said one more. "Particularly, members of our LGBTQ society."

As you can see, they're not all under one banner.

People inside the stadium, may not all have signs to hold up, but they made sure their issues were brought to light before the vice president.

"Notre Dame is a campus where deliberation is welcomed," Vice President Mike Pence said. "Where opposing views are debated. And where every speaker, no matter how unpopular or unfashionable is afforded the right to air their views in the open for all to hear."

"Our generation must stand against the scapegoating of Muslims" Valedictorian CJ Pine criticized Pence on the current administration's policies on the islamic faith.

"We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights," Pine said. "Therefore, as you and I leave this stadium, we must fight for others, for their unalienable rights. So that their future becomes their own."

Pence welcomed the dialogue.

"This university is a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas in a time, sadly, when free speech and civility are waning."

It's an exchange of ideas that, some believe, offers a chance for freedom of speech to reign.

"Our folks are going to stand up for what they believe in and that we can do so respectfully," Protester Nicholas Finari said. "We don't have to tip cars over in the parking lot. That we can have a thoughtful and formed opinion and we can execute that opinion in a way that is very respectful."

Despite protests on and off of campus, nobody was arrested or given citations.