President Obama’s planned commencement speech at Notre Dame’s May 17 graduation has sparked an online movement calling for the university president’s ouster, and has prompted social networking groups, filled with thousands of students and alumni, to speak out on the matter.

A group of Notre Dame financial backers and alumni formed a web site called ReplaceJenkins.com, which calls for the replacement of University President John Jenkins following his support for inviting Obama to speak at the commencement ceremony.

The web site’s home page says its creators oppose Obama’s presence at the university because of his support for abortion rights. The site encourages visitors to sign a petition and state how much money they will withhold from the university.

The creators of ReplaceJenkins.com say they are not making a political statement, but they are "opposed to [Obama and Jenkins’s] actions and pronouncements, which run contrary to the fundamental moral principles of our Catholic faith."

The web site WeSupportNotreDame.org counters ReplaceJenkins.com with a pledge to support the university president’s decision to invite Obama.

More than 34,000 people have signed a petition on WeSupportNotreDame.org thanking Jenkins for "his decision to promote the ideals of Notre Dame."

Notre Dame supporters, alumni, and current students have brought the discussion to social networking giant Facebook in recent weeks. Dozens of groups expressing support or regret over Obama’s planned visit have formed, and tens of thousands of Facebook members have joined in on the online discussion, which has become heated and confrontational in many groups.

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