off the hook

Rutgers University Clears Itself Of Any Wrongdoing In Tyler Clementi’s Death

Which, c’mon, they have to do. They can’t afford to see enrollment drop! Rutgers University President Richard McCormick says he personally went through Tyler Clementi‘s student records and concludes the school did everything in its power to keep him safe. “Based on everything I know, I believe that we did all we could and we did the right thing,” he says.

The statement came yesterday after McCormick met with some 20 LGBT students as planned, and appeared at the Rutgers Board of Governor’s meeting. Though McCormick’s conclusion might be different from the one investigators find: they’ve subpoenaed the emails Clementi told the forums he sent his resident adviser, which might have included requests for a room change, but almost certainly included a report that his roommate Dharun Ravi was secretly videotaping and live webcasting his private moments.

And while McCormick may (publicly) believe Rutgers did all it can for Tyler, and many will say nobody could have assumed some “silly prank” would’ve driven Tyler to commit suicide, the university’s response will be branded a failure if it doesn’t recognize that all forms of bullying are unacceptable. The school tells its students to speak up if they feel they are being harassed or put in danger. It appears Tyler did just that. And nothing happened.

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  • Cam

    Sorry, somebody informs their RA, that they are being harrassed because of their sexuality and…oh yeah, that they are being illegally videotaped and the school does nothing?!

    If a woman came to her RA and said that a male student in her dorm building put a camera in her room and uploaded pictures of her changing, the school would have been all over it.

  • B

    No. 1 · Cam wrote, “Sorry, somebody informs their RA, that they are being harrassed because of their sexuality and…oh yeah, that they are being illegally videotaped and the school does nothing?!”

    … the press reports are that the victim posted a statement on a gay web site that he had contacted his RA, who seemed to take it seriously, and that the suicide occurred 17 hours later. Add an hour or two for him to talk to the RA, send the email, and then get around to posting that message. That’s under 20 hours (approximately) for the school to respond with no indication that a student was suicidal. It’s so short that even if they did manage to respond that quickly, there would be no guarantee that the victim would have found out in time (e.g., if they emailed him instead of calling his cell phone). If he talked to the RA in the early evening, someone in the administration would not have seen the email until the next day (maybe later if enough emails were queued up) unless they were working very long hours that day.

    I don’t think you can blame the university given the short time they had to respond (once notified). You can certainly blame his roommate.

    Also don’t assume the suicide was due to the web cam. One report indicated that Ravi knew his roommate was gay on August 22. If so, Ravi could have been searching for salacious material about his roommate. If he found some (no idea if he did but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had tried), he might have threatened to post links to everyone in his dorm, or maybe send them to the victim’s boyfriend, possibly after learning that his roommate had talked to their RA. There are a lot of possibilities, and I don’t think anyone knows the whole story except maybe Ravi, and he isn’t talking.

  • JoeyO'H

    Of course they do.


    The school was made aware of this less than 24 hours before Tyler jumped. What exactly were they expected to do within that time frame?

  • Markie-Mark

    @B: 24 hours is PLENTY of time to respond to illegal activities. Your hypothetical excuses could get you a good job with the Obama administration.

Comments are closed.