VCU Students Walk out of Graduation to Protest Youngkin’s Speech

News & Politics

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) graduates walked out of their graduation ceremony Saturday morning as a way of protest when Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin began to deliver the commencement address. The walkout, participated in by dozens of students, was supposed to be a way to show support for Palestine and protest against some of Youngkin’s Republican policies.

The VCU chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) urged VCU officials to rescind the invitation to Youngkin this week prior to the graduation ceremony. When their urges were unsuccessful, they, along with other students, said they planned to walk out when Youngkin began speaking — and that’s exactly what they did Saturday morning. 

Students, many of whom were wearing masks, stood up and stormed out when Youngkin began his opening statements. Many students held kaffiyeh scarves and signs reading things like “Teach Black history” and “Book bans [do not equal] respect for learning.”

Related: Youngkin Promotes Parental Voice Over Children’s Gender And Pronouns

Previously Youngkin has proved that he doesn’t want woke crap in schools and emphasized that “parents matter” when it comes to what is and isn’t taught to their kids in school. To the left however, likely many of those who protested at the graduation, that sort of transparency is seen as a threat to the indoctrination and grooming goals of many progressives.

NEW: @VCU students walk out of their own commencement to protest @GlennYoungkin #valeg

They will not be allowed back into the ceremony but don’t seem worried.

“My families going to be mad, but it’s worth it for what he’s done to bBack and trans ppl” – said by a student outside https://t.co/zA9RvvC1Vz pic.twitter.com/wOvgl1lVVK

— BK (@BradKutner) May 11, 2024

Other students and protestors marched around the school holding signs and shouting things like “No books, no peace, let knowledge increase” with plans to all meet up at Abner Clay, a local park.

The walkout at @VCU graduation is underway. pic.twitter.com/VFOoe5jc2B

— Megan E. Pauly (@Megan__Pauly) May 11, 2024

The temper tantrum by the VCU grads was met with mixed reviews from social media users. One user on X gave “kudos” to the students saying “Glenn Youngkin weaponized Black people to win the race for governor with fearmongering over critical race theory and stirring up white parents’ angst. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a commencement walkout at a historically black university.”

A different user said the walkout “warm[ed] her heart.”

On the contrary, one user said it wasn’t “courageous” at all, but rather that it was “an insult to their fellow graduates.” Similarly, a user wrote “Pathetic!! Small few inconsiderate fools ruin it for rest of Graduates & families Like so many activists they only care about themselves. What did they really accomplish? Nothing!”

I agree with the latter sentiments. Regardless of your personal view of a particular person, there’s something called basic human respect and that’s something I think all those who walked out could benefit from learning about.

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