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#RemoveRohini controversy brings better understanding of Black Lives Matter

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The Black Student Caucus rejected Sethi’s clarification of her much-debated comment made on July 7. | Frank Campos/The Cougar

Beginning with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, three women founded Black Lives Matter. The movement that began as a hashtag has taken the nation by storm.

From this storm, however, came #AllLivesMatter — an equally popular countermovement that undermines what Black Lives Matter has been doing.

When Rohini Sethi made the controversial Facebook post, it revealed her ignorance of Black Lives Matter’s true purpose. It isn’t a movement as a means to divide African-Americans from the rest of society.

University of Houston’s students became concerned and rallied behind a new movement, #RemoveRohini, in the wake of the controversy.

In an open letter, Myles Parnell, the Student Program Board’s vice president of membership, explained to Sethi that the movement is not “#OnlyBlackLivesMatter” but rather “#BlackLivesMatterToo.”

“I want to make sure that people know this letter is not a call for yet another vicious and malicious attack on Rohini, to divide the student body, or to support the ‪#‎RemoveRohini hashtag,” Parnell said. “It is a plea to help you understand. Today you issued a statement, not an apology, where you attempted to clarify what you said which you ended with the hashtag “‪#‎LetsTalkUnity. And I am definitely down to talk unity, but first I need to explain to you why I and the rest of the black community at UH will not overlook this transgression and simply move forward.”

Parnell’s response effectively highlights Black Lives Matter’s intentions rather than criticizing Sethi. Most have chosen the latter. Rather than solving the issue, it creates a muddied response to Sethi’s mistake.

In response, SGA released a statement emphasizing their commitment to diversity and unity. They also arranged a town hall meeting where students can voice their thoughts about the racial tension on campus.

SGA originally scheduled the event for last week, but then moved it to next Tuesday.

The most desirable outcome is not the removal of a SGA staff member whose well-intentioned comment is an unfortunate dismissal of an entire race’s struggles. We should instead use this opportunity to raise awareness of Black Lives Matter and bring together everyone in the second-most diverse school in the nation.

Sethi’s response to the debacle undermines, in many ways, the trust of the student government to support its minorities. We need to take necessary steps to ensure our student body and future students see UH as an inclusive institution.

Sethi’s post also showed how uninformed our society is about the purpose of Black Lives Matter. We, as a school, should spearhead the movement to bring forth its origins, goals and ultimate purpose.

Columnist Praneeth Kambhampati is a biomedical sciences freshman and can be reached at [email protected].


  • Do not resign Madame SBVP. Your hashtag was justified, and shows the shaky foundation on which BLM resides.

    Black Lives do not matter in Chicago, Baltimore, and a whole host of other cities, where 97% of the murder of Black Lives are extinguished by other Black Lives. BLM will never do anything about that because it does not advance their cause.

    If anything, BLM pressure on police departments has reduced the amount of patrols in the hood, directly leading to thugs shooting over 2,000 people in Chicago this year alone, who have either been shot and wounded or killed.

    Heck, the police have only shot 100 unarmed in 2015, and the elephant in the small room is purposely being overlooked by a media that loves ratings at the expense of American freedom and civility.

    BLM was founded on the lie of “hands up, don’t shoot,” which was never uttered. And please tell me which stupid person would shout to a cop “hands up” when they are putting their hands up?

    BLM, along with Barack Obama … have fanned the flames of anti-cop rhetoric, which has led to the assassinations of eight (8) police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge by BLM supporters in the past two weeks. That along with purposely blocking traffic is not helping their cause … it continues to create Trump voters.

  • You, as a school, should spearhead the movement to bring forth facts and truth instead of propaganda and lies!

  • First of all. TRAYVON MARTIN WAS A THUG. He was killing George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman had every right to protect himself.

    Second of all, almost all the cities led by Democrats are in debt. Slums, ghettos and the worst cities in the United States. Coincidentally, many of them are run by black mayors and black councils.

    Stop apologizing Rohini. You are being bullied. It doesn’t matter what your intentions were. You have the right to free speech and if you allow these bullies to take it away from you, they will do it again and again. You are now in company with the future DNC…why doesn’t that scare you?

    • “Killing George Zimmerman” bullshit, proceedings said he was being assaulted, after Zimmerman decided to go after Trayvon Martin despite dispatch telling him otherwise. If Zimmerman wasn’t acting like a vigilante and running after people in the raining night, Trayvon Martin would still be alive. Zimmerman didnt magically appear next to Trayvon, he was flagged down, and nobody knows what occurred, only that Trayvon was assaulting him. It’s quite possible, however just as unknown, that the idiot running after Trayvon who presumed he was a criminal, could’ve started the fight.

      Secondly, I don’t know what trashy podunk town you come from, but virtually all of the poorest states in America are Red, Conservative states with Republican governors. The wealthiest ones are run by Democrats like New York and California. And the wealthiest places with the best living standards in the United States are also big cities like New York City and San Francisco. So Democrats can answer for the slums in a few major cities (which are like that due to systematic redlining), but Republicans should answer for all the trailer parks, white trash towns and “coal miner” types that stretch from Texas all the way to West Virginia and make up the majority of the geographical spread of the nation.

      • Trayvon Martin was dressed like a thug. He walked like a thug, talked like a thug. he dressed prison just like most kids his age do, not understanding that their dress is the prison signal to homosexuals that they’re “open for business”. New York and California have money because of business. Chicago is a mess, Baltimore is a mess, Philly is a mess, too. Most of the people getting shot in Chicago are black getting shot by other blacks. If Black Lives matter, then you should be running up to chicago and helping out neighborhood watch.

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