Aug. 1, 2016 11:50am Kate Scanlon
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The University of Houston’s student government has sanctioned its vice president for a social media post in which she declared that “all lives matter,” according to KTRK-TV.
Rohini Sethi recently wrote “Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter” in a since-deleted post.
The Black Student Union of the University of Houston called for Sethi to be removed from office after the post, using the hashtag #RemoveRohini on social media.
Shane Smith, the university’s student government president, was granted one-time power by the student senate to determine Sethi’s punishment. The student government has the authority to issue sanctions independently of the University of Houston’s administration.
In a letter detailing the sanctions against her, Smith wrote:
The sanctions include a 50-day suspension and mandatory attendance at three of the university’s “cultural events” per month.I am aware of the first amendment arguments that some have made. Yes, Rohini had a right to say what she did. Identically, students also have that same right to voice their complaints. The first amendment prevents a person from being jailed by the government for what they say. But the first amendment does not prevent people from receiving consequences for what they say, including workplace discipline.
Sethi wrote on Facebook that although she disagrees with the sanctions, she will abide by them.
After her now-deleted post caused controversy, Sethi wrote on Facebook that she was trying to use “language that binds us together rather than language that singles some out.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the University of Houston said:
Watch the KTRK report:“The University of Houston has become aware that the Student Government Association (SGA) has suspended its vice president, Ms. Rohini Sethi, from participating in SGA activities. Actions by SGA, a registered student organization subject to its own governance, are not University actions and do not affect the academic standing of a student at the University of Houston. The University of Houston continues to stand firm in support of free speech and does not discipline students for exercising their Constitutional rights.”
This post has been updated to include a statement from a spokesperson for the University of Houston.