Christian college rescinds Mike Pence invitation amid student backlash
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Commencement on Saturday.
UPDATE: WLC rescinded its invitation to Vice President Mike Pence to speak at its commencement ceremony.
More than 200 students and alumni have denounced the decision in an open letter to the college.
UPDATE: Wisconsin Lutheran College announced after the initial publication of this article that it has rescinded its invitation to Vice President Mike Pence to speak at its commencement ceremony. In a statementposted to its website, the school said:
Wisconsin Lutheran College today announced that after further review with careful consideration of the escalating events in Kenosha, the WLC Board of Regents and the College's Administration have jointly decided to present a different speaker instead of the Vice President of the United States, Michael R. Pence, at the Saturday, August 29, 2020, commencement. The College is pleased to announce that Rev. Mark Jeske of St. Marcus Lutheran Church has agreed to serve as the commencement speaker.
Original story below...
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at the Wisconsin Lutheran College Commencement on Saturday, but more than 200 students and alumni have denounced the decision.
In an open letter to the college, the group called the invitation for Pence to speak “disrespectful” and “problematic.”
The letter said, “the mere invitation of a Vice President of an incredibly divisive and controversial ticket to speak in a swing state months before an election is ignorant and deceptive.”
[RELATED: Official GW University Twitter account fond of hashtag calling Mike Pence an 'idiot']
It also criticized the administration at the Wisconsin Lutheran College, a Christian college, for praising Pence’s advocacy “for the freedom of religious expression.”
“Throughout the years, WLC continues to invite people that consistently support conservative and Republican politics, those who often claim Christian values in their rhetoric, but don’t always display them in their policies,” the letter stated.
The letter also included a message to the class of 2020.
[RELATED: STUDY: Free speech under 'serious threat' at Wisconsin colleges]
“Your commencement ceremony should not have been infected by toxic politics,” the letter read. “You didn’t ask for this, and you should not have needed to ask for this not to happen.”
According to the school’s website, the commencement is not meant to be viewed as a political event, nor is it a political statement.
The school said in its initial announcement that, regardless of political affiliations, it is “honored” to host the Vice President.
WLC said in a statement to Campus Reform, "This case is an ongoing legal proceeding, and we do not comment on these proceedings. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement throughout the process.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk