UH President: free expression trumps political correctness

The University of Houston (UH) is refusing to remove a student government executive from office after she angered many students with a tweet saying “All Lives Matter.”

“SGA has always been ‘of the students, by the students and for the students’ and UH’s system of shared governance does not allow administrative intervention in SGA,” UH President Renu Khator states in an email sent to students and faculty Thursday. “Having said that, it is our responsibility to maintain a culture of inclusion in which all voices are heard and constructive discourse is not only protected, but also encouraged.”

The statement was made in response to demands from some students that Khator force Student Body Vice President Rohini Sethi out of office for posting “Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter” on Facebook hours after a black gunman shot and killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas last week.

UH students and their supporters began a Twitter campaign, popularizing “#RemoveRohini” and eventually impelling her to apologize for the post.

[RELATED: Saying ‘all lives matter’ lands student gov exec in hot water]

Khator, however, is flatly rejecting that notion, saying in the email that her administration is committed to protecting free speech, and will not allow the pursuit of inclusivity to override the need to respect differences of opinion.

“The University and I stand firm on the values of diversity, inclusion, and unity,” Khator wrote. “But differences of opinion are the natural byproduct of such discourse, and UH remains committed to the principles of free and open expression.

“Ultimately, universities bring empowerment through education and understanding,” she continued, urging students “to engage in respectful discussion, behavior, and activities regarding this matter and all such issues.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RiersonNC