Pence accused of 'xenophobia' by fellow alumni, ND students

Amber Athey
Investigative Reporter

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  • Alumni from Mike Pence’s alma mater have written a letter accusing him of complicity in “discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and antipathy toward the poor" that they see in the Trump administration.
  • Pence is also under fire from students at the University of Notre Dame, who are conducting a "#NotMyCommencementSpeaker" campaign on social media to protest his invitation to give the 2017 Commencement address.
  • Alumni from Mike Pence’s alma mater have written a letter accusing him of complicity in “discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and antipathy toward the poor.”

    The letter, signed by more than 400 Hanover College alumni and published in The Indianapolis Star, begins by congratulating Pence for being elected to “one of the highest positions in our country” but spends the rest of its nearly 1,000 words criticizing him for his political views and involvement with President Trump.

    “Academic leftists have become...bullies intent on imposing their will on others and silencing all who disagree.”   

    “We write to you to ask how, as an obviously devout Christian, and after four years of the enlightening liberal arts education we all received at Hanover College, you can participate in the discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and antipathy toward the poor that we see in the actions of the Trump administration,” the letter begins.

    The alumni frequently invoke Christianity as the basis for their criticism of Pence, contending that his stances on abortion and religious freedom are faulty because “people of faith cannot understand, much less support, oppressing any of God’s children in the name of Christianity.”

    [RELATED: Bethel faculty: Bible compels us to use gender-neutral language]

    “Your policies relentlessly attacked women’s reproductive rights to the point where women were punished for having miscarriages,” they continue, asserting that “you signed legislation aimed directly at discriminating against Indiana’s LBGTQ citizens under the guise of religious freedom.”

    The letter condescendingly closes with the implication that Pence didn’t take advantage of his education at Hanover College, saying, “We are saddened that so little of the rich undergraduate education that we received at Hanover College is evident in your political career to date, and we hope that you will find the needed courage and commitment to become a leader who governs from a position of informed and rational judgment and true Christian compassion.”

    While the signatories chose to remain anonymous, Hanover alumni and Heritage Foundation employee Luke Karnick wrote a signed op-ed for The Federalist defending Pence’s contributions to society and his status as a respected Hanover alum.

    “Instead of questioning the vice president’s religious faith, the Hanoverians would do more good by considering the logs in their own eyes and asking any conservatives on the campus how welcome they feel there,” Karnick writes. “In my experience there, these academic leftists have become what they claim to hate most: bullies intent on imposing their will on others and silencing all who disagree.”

    Pence has also been criticized recently by students at the University of Notre Dame, who are livid that he has been invited to deliver the school’s 2017 commencement address.

    [RELATED: ND students 'feel unsafe' about Pence giving Commencement]

    Two students, in fact, chose to protest this invitation by launching a #notmycommencementspeaker campaign for students to take photos holding white boards with “direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community.”

    The #notmycommencementspeaker campaign posted over 20 photos on Saturday of students explaining why they don’t feel Pence is fit to address the graduating class.

    “Because I was raised by 2 beautiful, strong, independent, and loving BLACK LESBIAN WOMEN #NotMyVP,” one student wrote.

    Another wrote, “Because women are people, not weird demons who you can’t be trusted to enjoy a meal with,” referencing Pence’s decision not to dine alone with women other than his wife.

    “We are your biggest THREAT a STRONG, EDUCATED MINORITY,” one student scrawled on their whiteboard. “FUCK YOU, PENCE.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey



    Amber Athey

    Amber Athey

    Investigative Reporter

    Amber Athey is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and Economics, and is currently a member of the 2016-2017 Koch Associate Program. 

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