University of Houston Student Government Association Vice President Rohini Sethi took to Twitter after the tragic shooting of five Dallas police officers and tweeted something that sent the student body population into a roar:
“Forget #BlackLivesMatter. More like AllLivesMatter.”
This is a great contrast to the statement released by SGA President Shane Smith, who released a statement to the University of Houston student body opening with:
Racial tension is one of the most dangerous threats to the future of our country
The since-deleted tweet by Sethi reached nearly 43,000 students and left the minority population enraged. Smith told the Washington Post, “Her post and subsequent actions were very divisive. It caused some in our student body to become very upset with her. They lost faith in her ability to represent them because they felt that she did not understand or respect the struggles in their lives.”
The Collegiate 100 responded to Sethi’s tweet with a public collective proposal to remove her from office. The organization referenced a previous incident:
“For example, another member of SGA made a comment of Facebook saying ‘Every person who has tried to blow me up or my family has been a Muslim who votes Democrat.’ This member has since resigned as a result of this offensive comment. Refusing to reprimand Sethi not only tells the Black community that it is not as important to appease them when they have been offended, but also tells the rest of the UH community that it is acceptable to make racially slanderous remarks as long as it is directed at the African American community.”
Sethi attempted to make amends with a Facebook post stating:
As student body vice president, I was elected to represent the voice of every single one of you. When I took this position, my intention was and still is to advocate for you and make you feel heard. I am a friend to some, a passing face for others but an advocate for all.
Thursday night as our nation recoiled in shock, I took to Facebook and shared in a way that was inappropriate given the context and my position. In that moment, I did not act as your vice president, I acted, in my own flawed way, as many do when presented with a tragedy from afar. My response has caused enormous pain for many members of our community, and I think it is high time that I clarify my statement.
Visually we are black, white, tan, and a hundred shades between but we are all human, thus I believe that all lives matter. Let’s all come together through conversations to reach unity. This is how we begin to set the standards for ourselves and our future, especially in times of adversity.
Our community is the most diverse in the nation, and we should cherish the lessons that it teaches us. I hope to embrace language that binds us together rather than language that singles some out. This is the perfect opportunity for us to rediscover each other, to learn about who we are, and what our experiences have been.
The action was swift. Smith was given the temporary power from his SGA co-horts to reprimand Sethi for her statement. He suspended her.
Sethi made remarks on her Facebook page showing her views on the suspension.
UH SGA has made its decision. I disagree with the sanctions taken against me by my SGA because I believe I have done a great deal to better understand the controversy I caused. I have also apologized for my words because no student should feel as though I do not have their best interests at heart. Even so, I will abide by the sanctions for as long as they are in place.