Wisconsin Lutheran College cancels Mike Pence speech amid Jacob Blake protests

MADISON, Wis. — A private Milwaukee college has canceled plans to have Vice President Mike Pence deliver a commencement address this weekend, citing unrest in nearby Kenosha where police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, and two people were killed during protests that followed.

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Wisconsin Lutheran College said Thursday that “after further review with careful consideration of the escalating events in Kenosha,” it decided to not have Pence deliver the speech.

The vice president will be replaced by the Rev. Mark Jeske, of St. Marcus Lutheran Church.

Kenosha police shot Blake seven times in the back on Sunday evening, minutes after responding to a domestic incident. Blake survived but is paralyzed from the waist down, and the shooting sparked several nights of protests and violence. On Tuesday night, authorities allege that Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old police admirer from nearby Antioch, Illinois, shot and killed two protesters and wounded a third.

Pence was scheduled to deliver his speech outside at the private college, which has about 1,200 students and is about 40 miles from Kenosha.

More than 270 students and alumni signed an open letter posted online objecting to the visit, which was announced prior to the violence in Kenosha.

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