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UH SGA vice president suspended from SGA duties after Black Lives Matter post

Rohini Sethi faces 50-day suspension from SGA duties, sanctions

Rohini Sethi/Facebook
Rohini Sethi/Facebook

HOUSTON – The University of Houston Office of the Student Body President laid down some strict sanctions in response to Student Government Association vice president Rohini Sethi's controversial Black Lives Matter post.

Sethi was blasted for posting, "Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter" on social media in early July in the wake of the officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

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Her post quickly spread online. People were calling for her to resign as the vice president for what some called an insensitive post.

Sethi posted a response to the backlash days later. It says in part, "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," she wrote. "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."

As Student Body Vice President, I was elected to represent the voice of every single one of you. When I took this...

Posted by Rohini Restelle on Monday, July 11, 2016

UH Student Body President Shane Smith issued a letter on July 29 about the consequences of Sethi's post.

"I have been very disappointed and concerned by the manner in which Rohini has handled this situation. Since her original post, I have not felt that she has understood or respected how her actions have affected the people around her, as well as the reputation of SGA and the university. I believe that many of the actions she took only further escalated the situation and were not in the best interests of the organization," Smith wrote.

For violating the UH SGA bylaws, Sethi has been suspended from SGA-related activities and duties and assigned the following sanctions:

  • 50 day suspension, beginning Aug. 1 and ending Sept. 20 - The suspension includes all duties and events related to SGA.
  • Mandatory attendance at the Libra Project Workshop on Aug. 15 - 17 - The Libra Project aims to educate Houston college students on issues facing today's society.
  • Mandatory attendance at three UH cultural events per month from September through March, excluding December - These events include ones hosted by organizations represented in the Black Student Caucus and events within the Third Ward community.
  • A letter of reflection discussing how Rohini's actions have impacted SGA, its members, and the university - The letter should demonstrate an understanding of her responsibility as a public figure.
  • A public presentation detailing the knowledge she has gained about cultural issues facing our society to be given at the Sept. 28 SGA Senate meeting.

File: SGA VP Sanctions

Sethi responded to the sanctions saying that she disagreed with SGA's decision.

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UH SGA has made its decision. I disagree with the sanctions taken against me by my SGA because I believe I have done a...

Posted by Rohini Restelle on Friday, July 29, 2016

Sethi said even though she does not agree, she will abide by the sanctions.