Politically correct tyranny is afoot at the University of Houston.
I was recently made aware of a student at the university who was suspended for 50 days by the student government association and ordered to attend diversity training over a reference she made about the Black Lives Matter crowd. (She can still go to class but she can't participate in student government activities.)
“#ForgetBlackLivesMatter; more like AllLivesMatter,” wrote Rohini Sethi, the vice president of the school’s student government association.
Ms. Sethi wrote those words last month just a few hours after five Dallas police officers were assassinated.
Her belief that every life matters set off a firestorm of controversy among students – including the Black Student Union.
They were among several predominantly African-American groups who demanded that Ms. Sethi be punished for exercising her First Amendment rights.
“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,” BSU president Kadidja Kone told the Washington Post.
“Just for her to say, ‘forget Black Lives Matter,’ is a punch in the stomach, student Nala Hughes told ABC 13 News in Houston.
The 100 Collegiate Men, an organization for black students, also condemned the idea that all lives matter.
“As of today, African American students do not feel welcome, comfortable, represented, valued or even acknowledged at the University of Houston,” read a statement provided to the Post. “Students at the University of Houston want to feel adequately represented. They do not feel that this is being accomplished as long as Rohini Sethi is in office.”
In order to placate the torches and pitchfork mob, the student government association gave SGA President Shane Smith full authority to mete out a punishment.
And Mr. Smith was more than happy to oblige.
According to the Daily Cougar, Ms. Sethi was suspended from government activities for 50 days.
She was also ordered to attend three cultural events each month, write a letter of reflection on her Facebook posting and make a public presentation “detailing the knowledge she has gained about cultural issues facing our society.”
She was also ordered to attend mandatory diversity training – basically a form of ideological conversion therapy.
It’s ironic because I thought the academic lefties were opposed to conversion therapy.
"The First Amendment prevents a person from being jailed by the government for what they say,” Mr. Smith wrote in a statement. “The First Amendment does not prevent people from receiving other consequences for what they say, including workplace discipline."
I suspect had jail been an option, Mr. Smith would’ve tossed Ms. Sethi in county lockup – just to teach her a lesson.
“It is a fair point that one ignorant social media post alone may not warrant such sanctions,” he wrote. “However, serving in a public role means that we are held to a higher standard – and rightfully so.”
Oh, so Mr. Smith is a school yard bully. I’m certain he will grow up to be a fine community organizer.
But while Mr. Smith’s actions are reprehensible, they are not nearly as reprehensible as the actions of the grownups who actually run the University of Houston.
They provided a statement to the Houston Press – trying to distance themselves from the actions of the student government association.
"The University of Houston continues to stand firm in support of free speech and does not discipline students for exercising their Constitutional rights,” the statement read.
That’s true. They just let power-hungry little fascists-in-training do their dirty work.
Ms. Sethi did not return messages seeking comment – but she did post a statement on Facebook.
“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,” she wrote. “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.
Ms. Sethi has done nothing to warrant an apology.
What happened to this young lady is despicable and detestable. She was publically shamed and verbally flogged because she believes every life has value.
But such an opinion is no longer allowed at the University of Houston -- where free speech has been strung up by a politically correct lynch mob.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.