Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last Thursday introduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2014 with five cosponsors: Casey and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Ct.), Al Franken (Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), all Democrats.
The bill would require federally funded colleges and universities to instate policies banning harassment, including cyberbullying, of students based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.
Clementi, a Rutgers freshman, committed suicide in September 2010 after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, used a webcam to spy on him in a sexual encounter with another man and disseminated the images to other students. Ravi spent 20 days in jail and served three years in probation for invasion of privacy and other charges.
The Senate legislation, introduced in the last three sessions of Congress, had previously been spearheaded by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). Those versions died in committee.
Casey, a first-time cosponsor of the bill, told PGN in a statement he was “proud” to sign on.
“Bullying and harassment affect millions of students each year, and I believe students of all ages deserve to receive a quality education without fear of bullying,” he said. “This legislation will provide students and institutions with resources to address and prevent harassment, and assist those who have been victim to bullying in the past.”