Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to speak at the Joyce Center today as the keynote speaker in a non-Notre Dame-sponsored fundraising event for Indiana Congressman Chris Chocola.
The $250 per-plate fundraiser will be preceded by a $2,000 meet-and-greet session with Cheney. The combination of these events could potentially raise over $250,000 for Chocola's re-election campaign.
The official purpose of Cheney's visit is unrelated to the University of Notre Dame. University officials said they are renting out the Joyce Center to Chocola's campaign as a business decision and are in no way endorsing Chocola as a political candidate.
Various groups on campus oppose the polices of Cheney and Chocola, both Republicans. The Notre Dame Peace Coalition is sponsoring a protest today in alliance with other campus and community organizations, including the Notre Dame Progressive Alliance, the Notre Dame College Democrats, Notre Dame Amnesty International, Women's Action for New Directions, Notre Dame Faculty and Staff Progressive Alliance, and Michiana Peace and Justice Coalition, peace groups from IUSB and Bethel College.
"We are using the protest as a forum to express our dissent. We are protesting what Dick Cheney represents, including his ideology of pre-emptive war. We are also upset with his decision to support Congressman Chris Chocola, whose policies we disagree with," said Liz Fallon, co-founder of the Notre Dame Peace Coalition. Protesters will meet at 10 a.m. at the Clarke Memorial Fountain, and the protest will take place at the Joyce Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Thirty members of the Notre Dame College Republicans, however, will be volunteering at the event, according to Brandi Gill, vice president of the College Republicans. These students will help with check-in and escort people to their seats.
"I think it's great that Cheney cares enough about Chocola to come and speak at his fundraiser again," Gill said.