A controversial social media comment raised questions about the consequences of exercising free speech and the responsibility of student leaders to be culturally sensitive.
The University of Houston’s student government vice president received a 50-day suspension and mandatory diversity training for her Facebook comment posted after five police officers were fatally shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, reports ABC 13-TV.
“Forget #BlackLivesMatter; More like AllLivesMatter,” posted Rohini Sethi, the vice president of the Student Government Association at the University of Houston. News of the post spread quickly on campus, and it was shortly deleted. She began her suspension on Aug. 1, according to the news outlet.
Student body President Shane A. Smith, who suspended Sethi, told The Washington Post that her comment and actions afterward divided the campus community.
He added: “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.”
Kadidja Koné, the Black student union president, told The Post that Sethi doesn’t understand.
“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,” said Koné.
The 19-year-old marketing major said Sethi’s comment is tantamount to saying that she doesn’t care if all Black people died tomorrow.
Sethi tried to take responsibility for her comments in a Facebook post:
“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.”
This whole episode has upset many conservatives. Fox News asked whether it is another example of political correctness.