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Former justice organizes protest over VP sanctions

SGA protest

The protest, organized by Matthew Wiltshire, starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. | Photo courtesy of Matthew Wiltshire

When former Justice Matthew Wiltshire stepped down from his Supreme Court position last month, he said it was because of what he called the “online bullying” occurring over the #RemoveRohini controversy.

Now, Wiltshire has organized a Facebook event before the SGA meeting Wednesday outside of the M.D. Anderson library to protest the contentious sanctions on Vice President Rohini Sethi.

“I’m bringing people who care about free speech to keep SGA accountable,” Wiltshire said.

Last Friday, President Shane Smith announced sanctions on Sethi that were harsher than the Senate’s original proposition. These include a 50-day suspension from her position in SGA, an off-campus diversity workshop, attendance at three UH cultural events, a letter of reflection and a public presentation about cultural issues in September.

Earlier this week, national media outlets covered the sanctions as a potential violation of Sethi’s rights to the First Amendment. Wiltshire and other former SGA members have been active in denouncing the sanctions as a violation of SGA’s constitution and bylaws.

As a result of the media attention, Sethi said she has been contacted by hundreds of supporters, including lawyers who feel that she may have grounds to sue SGA. Sethi has not pursued litigation.

“As of right now, I would like to resolve this amicably,” Sethi said. “I’ve been weighing all of my options very carefully. I look forward to seeing everyone at the SGA meeting.”

On the Facebook group, nearly 40 have accepted the invitation to attend, but Wiltshire estimates fewer. SGA President Shane Smith did not respond to a request for comment.

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