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Youngkin’s Speech at VCU Interrupted by Graduates’ Walkout

VCU Graduates Stage Walkout During Gov. Youngkin's Commencement Speech

Dozens of graduating students at Virginia Commonwealth University protested Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s commencement address by walking out during the ceremony.

About 100 out of the university’s 1,200 graduating class members left the venue as Youngkin delivered his address. The protest was in response to Youngkin’s support for breaking up campus protests, his views on LGBTQ+ rights, and his opposition to a proposal requiring VCU students to complete a racial literacy course.

These students had previously objected to Youngkin delivering the commencement address during a Board of Visitors meeting and had sought his removal from the program. Many of the protesting students were affiliated with the university’s NAACP chapter, an ad hoc group called “Not Welcome at VCU,” and other student organizations.

Graduates Make Statement, Walk Out of Virginia Governor’s Commencement Address

Inviting Youngkin as a commencement speaker sparked controversy, with some students arguing it goes against the university’s values.

Despite the protests, VCU proceeded with its commencement ceremony, as did several other colleges and universities across the country with scheduled graduation ceremonies on the same day, including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin.

The heightened security measures at these events were in response to recent pro-Palestinian protests that had erupted on campuses nationwide.

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