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DENTON, Texas (AP) – Police escorted about a dozen protesters from the audience as Gov. Greg Abbott began his commencement address to graduates at the University of North Texas.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that one student turned his back on the governor as he began speaking May 16 at the UNT Coliseum.

Abbott’s appearance was controversial from the start after more than 2,500 students signed an online petition asking the university to choose a different speaker.

Among the reasons the students opposed the governor’s appearance were his opposition to Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracking and to gay marriage.

Despite the protest, Abbott gave his speech without pause, telling students that their lives will be defined by how they respond to challenges.

More than 4,000 students graduated from the university this month.