CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence was in town Tuesday to speak with a young conservative student group at the University of Virginia. 

CBS19's Sarah Robinson had an exclusive interview with Pence as well as the reaction from students to him being at UVA.

Pence was hosted on Grounds by a conservative student group called Young America's Foundation, but his very presence sparked controversy among students.

"I heard there was a little bit of controversy proceeding my visit,” said Pence during the speech.

After news of Pence's pending visit made waves at UVA, an editorial in the Cavalier Daily titled Dangerous Rhetoric is not Entitled to a Platform sparked debate over free speech at the university.

"I'm aware of the controversy happening on campus with the students," said Pence during the interview before his speech. "But I must tell you I'm very proud. And I must tell you I'm honored that 17 faculty members along with the administration took a stand for freedom of speech.”

Pence's very presence on Grounds brought students out to protest.

"YAF the student group, they are kind of pushing the same narrative that we don't have free speech here yet they are able to get the vice president to come speak here on our campus,” said Kristen Maggard, a student protesting Pence’s speech.

"He was given the capacity to speak to the students and I've been given the capacity to tell the students that he's wrong,” added Ibrahim Hamdy, a student protestor.

Students voiced concerns about language they called "divisive," particularly about LGBTQ populations.

"In these divided times, even where we don't agree ultimately on some values, the American people can agree on freedom,” Pence said.

In his speech, Pence hit on topics ranging from Russia and Ukraine, Critical Race Theory, and what he calls President Joe Biden's failing administration. 

"Inflation is at a 40-year high and a new high today from the month of March at 8.5 percent,” he said.

Pence's speech was titled "How to Save America from the Woke Left," to which he says there's a simple answer: "the antidote to woke America is freedom."