Democrats introduced a bill that would require colleges and universities to fight anti-LGBTQ+ harassment on campus.
The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require colleges and universities that receive federal funds – which is almost all of them – to enact an anti-harassment policy that specifically addresses harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (which includes sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, and religion. The policies would also have to address cyberbullying.
The appeals court ruled evidence “tainted the jury’s verdict on the remaining charges, depriving defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial.”
“No one should live in fear of being bullied just because of who they are, especially in our schools,” said out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who introduced the bill in the Senate with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “In the face of increased harassment and discrimination, particularly against members of the LGBTQ+ community, our legislation makes crystal clear that kind of hate has no place on our college campuses or universities.”
The bill was first introduced in the Senate in 2011 by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who said, “While there is no way to completely eliminate the cruelty that some students choose to inflict on their peers, there should be a clear code of conduct at all universities to prohibit harassment.” It was then introduced again in 2021 by Baldwin and Murray.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced a companion bill in the House.
“No one should be bullied or harassed because of who they are or who they love,” said Pocan in a statement. “Today we honor Tyler’s life by reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to ensure that students can learn in peace and not have to worry about living in fear or humiliation for being themselves.”
Tyler Clementi was a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey who died by suicide in 2010 after his roommate used a webcam in their dorm room to record Clementi kissing a man. The roommate posted video to Twitter and Clementi found out.
The roommate was charged with two counts of invasion of privacy, two counts of attempted invasion of privacy, four counts of bias intimidation, three counts of tampering with physical evidence, three counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution, and one count of witness tampering. He was found guilty on all counts in a verdict that was later overturned on appeal. He then pled guilty to one count of attempted invasion of privacy.