After Tyler Clementi saw his roommate Dharun Ravi’s tweets revealing he was using his computer’s webcam to spy on Tyler getting intimate in their dorm room, the now-deceased Rutgers student got some advice about what to do on the forums of JustUsBoys.com. So he emailed his resident adviser and two of his superiors, explaining the invasion of privacy. Now prosecutors in New Jersey would like copies of those emails, thank you.
Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has subpoenaed the university to get them to turn over the emails to the R.A. to see what Rutgers did, if anything, to combat Ravi’s cyber bullying. Why the need to get the courts involved to secure the emails? Because, the Star-Ledger reports, prosecutors “felt some at the state university were not fully cooperating with the investigation into the high-profile suicide.” Rutgers denies it’s impeding the investigation — and might require subpoenas to turn over private records in order not to violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
So while Ravi and alleged co-conspirator Molly Wei face up to five years in prison if convicted of privacy violation (and up to 10 years if they’re convicted with a hate crime attachment), it remains to be seen whether Rutgers will be held liable for not doing enough to protect Tyler. In the meantime, the school is at least cover its (public relations) bases: University President Richard McCormick agreed to meet with LGBT students to discuss the crime.
New Jersey’s Sen. Frank Lautenberg says he’s working on a bill that will require any school receiving federal funds to have comprehensive anti-bullying policies, and provide funding for campuses to operate programs that fight harassment.
In the meantime, the frenzy surrounding Tyler’s death has left some wondering: Why is he getting all the attention? Jessica Moore, a black Seton Hall student, died at a party after leaping in front of an already-wounded friend when two men opened fire. Like Tyler, she was an aspiring musician. Unlike Tyler, her death — which came just days apart from Tyler’s — hasn’t seen cries for somebody to do something about it.