Notre Dame students walk out in protest during Vice President Pence’s commencement address

SOUTH BEND, Indiana-- It's a long-standing tradition for Notre Dame University to invite a new president to speak at commencement. But this year, thousands signed a petition asking the school not to invite President Trump.

The University instead invited the Vice President, Mike Pence, to speak, but he wasn't welcomed by everyone. As Pence took the podium, rows of students defiantly walked out of the ceremony. Others simply turned their backs.

Some members of the crowd cheered the walk-outs, while others booed the students who marched out of the gates of Notre Dame Stadium during the school's 172nd commencement.

Nevertheless, Pence continued speaking, choosing not to address the walk-out, instead focusing on religious liberty, President Trump's Sunday morning speech in Saudi Arabia, and encouraging leadership in broad stroke terms.

Pence concluded, "University of Notre Dame Class of 2017: this is your day. So go Irish! The future is yours."

The walk-out came before the students received their degrees, and they were not allowed back in, school officials said.