Skipping Graduation and President Obama

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN FOX NEWS HOST: You're going live to Notre Dame, where a controversy is smothering (ph) the Catholic university's upcoming big day. Five days from now, President Obama will be on campus giving a commencement speech at Notre Dame's graduation, and protests and rallies have begun.

Joining us live are Michele Sagala and Andrew Chronister, two seniors boycotting their own graduation. Michele, have you told your parents that you don't intend to go to graduation?


VAN SUSTEREN: What did they say?

SAGALA: They're very supportive. They're actually part of the reason why I've decided not to go to commencement is because of the support that they've shown.

VAN SUSTEREN: Andrew, how about you? Family know you're not going?

ANDREW CHRONISTER, BOYCOTTING NOTRE DAME GRADUATION: They definitely know, and they're going to be there on commencement day with us.

VAN SUSTEREN: What exactly, Andrew, are you going to do on commencement day?

CHRONISTER: Well, actually, as part of ND Response, which is the student coalition responding to this situation, we've planned a number of activities and events throughout the day. Beginning the night before, we're going to have all-night adoration, which is prayer before the blessed sacrament or the Eucharist, followed by an 11:00 o'clock in the morning mass on south quad, which is the largest quad on campus.

Following that, we're going to have a rally which will be composed of a number of speakers that are Notre Dame-affiliated. And actually, during commencement, the seniors who aren't going to commencement will be hosting a prayer vigil at the Grotto on campus.

VAN SUSTEREN: Michele, do you have any sort of sense of what percentage of students are with you on this or against you? Is there any way to quantify that?

SAGALA: You know, it's really hard to quantify, Greta. We're thinking that probably somewhere between 30 to 50 students will be with us at the Grotto, not at commencement, and praying with us down there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Out of how big -- Michele, how big is the graduating class?

SAGALA: Probably somewhere around 1,800, 1,900.

VAN SUSTEREN: Andrew, how was President Obama chosen? Is there -- is there a committee of students in conjunction with the -- with the president, or is this only a decision by the president of the university?

CHRONISTER: As far as I know, it's just a committee in the administration. The students have no involvement, no voice in the choice of President Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: Michele, I did a little research and found out that you've had other strong Catholics give commencement speeches, Senator Moynihan from New York, who's no longer living, Governor Cuomo of New York, as well. I think they're both pro-choice. Did they receive the same type of reception? Or would you have protested them? Tell me your thoughts on that.

SAGALA: Well, I mean, that's before my time, Greta. I think that both of them did create a stir, from what I understand, when they did come to Notre Dame. I don't know whether I would have protested. I probably would have. We could hope that if the students that are now involved with ND Response had been around back then that the would respond in the same way.

VAN SUSTEREN: Andrew, what's the president of the university saying to the student body, those who don't want the president to give the commencement speech? Have they said anything to you?

CHRONISTER: The president of the university has actually been supportive of us, insofar as the administration has sanctioned the events that we're planning and has given us approval for these events to occur on campus.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, two quick questions, one each for you. And first to you, Michele. You're graduating, so what are you going to do?

SAGALA: After graduation?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, are you going to go -- are you going to go get a job? Are you going to go on to school? What's the plan?

SAGALA: I'm actually marrying this guy over here in August.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, you are?

SAGALA: Yes. And...

VAN SUSTEREN: That I didn't know.

SAGALA: Then -- and I'll actually be staying around at Notre Dame. I'm doing a program where I'll be working on my master's in theology and working at a local Catholic parish.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Andrew, I'm a little psychic. I know in part what you're going to be doing, at least in August. I got smart real fast.


VAN SUSTEREN: Besides getting married to the woman next to you, what are you going to do?

CHRONISTER: I'm actually going to be here at Notre Dame for two more years, pursuing a degree in theology, master's degree.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we'll be watching both of you. And congratulations. Good luck on your wedding in August. Thank you both.

SAGALA: Thanks, Greta.

CHRONISTER: Thank you, Greta.

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