Rohini Sethi is an unlikely victim of the war on campus free speech that had been raging across the United States for the past few years. She is a Chemical Engineering student of Indian extraction, thus qualifying as a “woman of color” in the liberal vernacular. She is a vice president of the Student Government Association at the University of Houston, a large commuter college in the Southeast Texas city. She is being persecuted by a mob for daring to post on her Facebook page, “Forget about #BlackLivesMatter; more like all lives matter.” She posted this statement as a reaction to the mass killing of several Dallas police officers.

Sethi could be faulted for being naïve in thinking that the sentiment was noncontroversial, in the same vein as “Just people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” She was diverse and inclusive, allegedly liberal values.

However, judging by the reaction of the social justice warriors on the U of H campus, Sethi’s innocent post is being reacted to as if she burned a cross in front of the student center.

Cries went out to have Sethi removed from student government, with the hashtag #RemoveRohini. Unfortunately for the mob who would like to burn her at the stake, the procedures for removing someone from the U of H SGA are complicated, requiring the student body president, the president of the Student Senate, and then three-fourths of the Student Senate to approve impeachment procedures. Then Sethi would have to be tried by the Student Supreme Court.

The Student Senate decided to pass what is in effect a bill of attainder giving the U of H SGA President Shane Smith extraordinary powers to do with Sethi as he saw fit.

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He decided to decree a five-part punishment that included a 50 day suspension, a requirement to attend diversity training, an obligation to attend “three cultural events” per month from September 2016 through March 2017, excepting December, a mandate to write what is called a “letter of reflection” detailing the harm she caused the SGA and the university student body, and make a public presentation detailing what she had learned from the experience. Smith justified the severity of his sanctions because, in his judgment, Sethi still does not realize the “enormity” of her actions. If she fails to accept even one of the punishments, she will be summarily given the royal order of the boot from the SGA.

The University of Houston, as a publically funded institution of higher learning, has left itself open to civil rights litigation thanks to the violation of Sethi’s first amendment rights. Smith, when asked about this, opined that the Constitution only restrained the government from imprisoning someone for exercising free speech, but that “other consequences” can be done to them. One can only hope that this person does not wind up on the Supreme Court.

In the interests of full disclosure, this writer is a University of Houston graduate, class of 1980.