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VCU graduates walk out during Gov. Youngkin address

By Mike Heuer
An estimated 100 Virginia Commonwealth University graduates walked out as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin delivered the commencement address Saturday morning. File photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
An estimated 100 Virginia Commonwealth University graduates walked out as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin delivered the commencement address Saturday morning. File photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- Dozens of graduating students protested Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's commencement address by walking out during Virginia Commonwealth University's commencement Saturday morning.

About 100 of the university's 1,200 graduating class members walked out of the Greater Richmond Convention Center as Youngkin delivered the commencement address, The Washington Post estimated.

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The graduates were protesting Youngkin's support for breaking up campus protests, his opinions regarding LGBTQ+ rights and his opposition to a proposal requiring VCU students to complete a racial literacy course.

Several students objected to Youngkin delivering the university's commencement address during a recent Board of Visitors meeting and sought his removal from the commencement program, WTVR-TV in Richmond reported.

"VCU has a bipartisan tradition of inviting gubernatorial speakers to commencement," one student told board members. "But progress has never been made without challenging tradition."

Many of those students were members of the university's NAACP chapter, an ad hoc "Not Welcome at VCU" group and other student organizations.

Many other colleges and universities across the country have graduation ceremonies scheduled Saturday, including at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin.

Those universities and others heightened their security measures as pro-Palestinian protests erupted recently at campuses across the nation.

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