The students of one of America’s oldest, private evangelical colleges are calling to prevent Vice President Mike Pence from delivering their commencement address this year.
Taylor University is an Indiana-based institution that was ranked first among 94 Midwestern students — boasting the motto “Lux et Fides,” meaning “Light and Faith.” Given that Mike Pence hails from Indiana where the University is located, many were under the impression that his appearance at the graduation would not be a huge cause for concern — but boy, did they think wrong.
Students quickly rallied to create a petition demanding that Taylor University immediately rescind the offer of commencement speaker to Pence.
“Inviting Vice President Mike Pence to Taylor University makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with an ethic of love,” the petition read.
In just mere hours the petition garnered hundreds of signatures, which students and their supporters hope will sway the University.
Many who signed the petition on Change.org explained their reasoning:
I’m a husband of a Taylor alum and suggest that if Taylor is looking for a Hoosier Christian politician for the commencement they might consider inviting Pete Buttigieg.”
“Shame on you. He’s not a Christian, and any university that invites him to speak has no institutional commitment to fact or Truth.”
“If Mike Pence thinks that RFRA was a good ‘Christian’ direction for the state and nation, then he is missing the point of Christianity. Now he is trying to do it nationally. He is the wrong person to deliver your commencement speech. Perhaps Pete Buttigieg would have a more appropriate message for your graduates.”
“There are many marginalized students and staff who live, work, and study in a gray area. The University offers kind words of support to these populations but then engages in actions that place students on the fringe of Taylor’s community. Inviting Pence is one of those actions. Pence’s Values (political or personal) are not congruent with that of Taylor or Christianity. Pence’s values align with the administration (Looking at you president Haines.) So out of touch with the needs of your students – ALL your students. POC, LGBTQ+ (especially Transgender students), Women, Immigrants – they are apart of the Taylor community too! Pence’s presence and Taylor’s support of Pence enforce the idea that these communities are the outcast.”
“The fact that Taylor would invite Pence as a speaker honestly kills me a little bit. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for LGBT students to have to see this man’s harmful bullshit be honored on the Taylor stage. Really disgusting stuff, Taylor. Really ashamed to be an alum right now.”
“As an alumna of Taylor University, I’ve never been so disappointed in my college’s behavior. Taylor claims to be dedicated to love and truth. Mike Pence is a man who has worked to sew seeds of division and hatred in this country and has continued to support an administration that openly and blatantly lies about matters large and small, every single day.”
“Mike Pence has supported and advocated for harmful, deceptive policies that are in direct contradiction to the Bible’s teachings and Taylor’s heritage.”
Petitioners are making it very clear that Taylor University students, both past and present, are not prepared to stand with the institution if the school continues to support the likes of Mike Pence.
Pence, you’re not wanted there. And Taylor University, your students and alumnus are speaking — you better listen.
Featured image via DC Tribune gallery