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VP Pence Makes the Commencement Rounds

Notre DameMore than 100 students walked out of Vice President Pence's commencement address at Notre Dame, but he got a better reception at the Naval Academy.

In his Notre Dame speech, Pence applauded the university for its commitment to free speech:

“While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness — all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech. These all-too-common practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, and they are wholly outside the America tradition.”

 A statement by the students read, "Mike Pence's policies target the most vulnerable groups in our society."

 At the U.S. Naval Academy, Pence spoke about character, particularly, "humility, orientation to authority, and self-control. Here's what he said about humility:

Remember that character is destiny. Be men and women of integrity. People follow people they trust.  

I truly believe that among the most important qualities of leadership—whether it’s in the armed forces or any other endeavor—are humility, orientation to authority, and self-control. And I encourage you to cultivate these qualities as leaders in increasing measure every day from this day forward.

With humility, consider others to be more important than yourselves. Be servant leaders.  Approach every challenge as a learner and a listener first. In multiple counselors there is wisdom, and the best decisions by the best leaders come from counsel and collaboration.

 

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Discussion:

  • What's your view of the students' walking out on VP Pence's speech? Read their rationale. Does it influence your opinion?
  • Assess his speech at the Naval Academy. What are the high and low points from your perspective? How would you assess his delivery skills? How might your political opinions influence your assessment of his speech?