(NBC News) Dozens of Notre Dame graduates walked out of their commencement ceremony Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence took the stage.
Pence was invited after thousands of students signed a petition asking the university not to invite President Trump.
During his speech Pence tried to draw parallels between the university and the Trump administration.
“Just as Notre Dame has stood for those who are persecuted for their faith around the world, just a short while ago in Saudi Arabia this President spoke out against religious persecution of all people of all faiths,” the vice president said.
The vice president’s attempts to find common ground did not sit well with protesters angry over issues ranging from LGBT rights to immigration.
“I want to look back on it as a moment where I was able to stand up for what I believe in,” said graduate Dominic Alberigi.
The vice president’s critics had critics of their own.
“I think it’s embarrassing and I think it’s kind of an indictment of the way our educational system has turned from a place where you have a free discourse of ideas to a place where if you hear something you don’t agree with you run away,” said Ken Munro, the father of a Notre Dame graduate.
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