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Aug 04 2016
by Hannah Holzer

UH Student Body Vice President Posts 'forget #BlackLivesMatter' On Facebook

By Hannah Holzer - Aug 04 2016

 As many millennials took to social media platforms to voice their concerns and/or thoughts over the recent Black Lives Matter protests in Dallas and tragic aftermath, one student’s post elicited a school-wide backlash.

Rohini Sethi, the student body vice president at the University of Houston wrote on Facebook a post which angered many of her classmates.

“Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter,” Sethi posted on her personal Facebook.

Although Sethi deleted her post quickly afterwards, word spread, due to screenshots of the post, throughout the University of Houston student body. Shane Smith, the student body president of UH, suspended Sethi after pressure from student body to do so and published a public letter in response to the controversy on Twitter.

“Her post and subsequent actions were very divisive,” Smith told The Post. “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.”

Sethi was suspended from her position and took to Facebook again to say she disagreed with her suspension but that she “has also apologized.”

Kadidja Koné, UH president of the black student union, talked to The Post about her thoughts on Sethi’s posting.

“I would never want her to have to experience the fear I have every day that my brother could die during a traffic stop, but it is something that as a representative of me that I expect her to understand. For her to say on her social media ‘forget black lives matter,’ it’s almost as if to say if all of us were to die tomorrow, she wouldn’t care.”

The UH official Twitter account also took to social media to explain that Sethi’s suspension was not their decision, and was a direct result of the UH Student Government’s actions.

The Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the UH student body Matthew Wiltshire took to Facebook to announce his resignation.

“Nobody has a right to destroy another for their sincerely held beliefs,” Wiltshire wrote. “You can debate. You can argue. You can even be an ass. What you can’t do is grind someone down so far their life changes.

“No matter what the Rohini decides to do – whether she chooses to hold her ground or retracts – I expect the UH community to support Rohini and her statements whether you agree with them or not. I expect that support to be public. I will be keeping two lists. One of them says ‘People with integrity.’ The other says ‘cowards.’ Choose wisely.”  

#RemoveRohini was created in response to those angry with the vice president's actions. 

In this case, regardless of stance on the important issue, social media was able to divide and anger a school of nearly 45,000 people. Lesson learned: think of the consequences before you post.

Lead Image Credit: ABC 13 News

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Hannah Holzer - UC Davis

Soon-to-be UC Davis freshman, journalist, film enthusiast & baker extraordinaire.

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