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Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act Reintroduced in Congress

Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act Reintroduced in Congress

Two New Jersey congressman reintroduced a bill last week that seeks to combat harassment and cyberbullying on college campuses by mandating that colleges have specific and inclusive anti-harassment policies. The bill, called the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, is named in honor of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi who took his own life in September last year following harassment from his peers.

The legislation, reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12), would require all colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to have in place a policy to prohibit the harassment of students based on their perceived or actual race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity.

Students would have to be made explicitly aware of this policy and would also be given guidelines on what action to take should they find themselves victims of such harassment. The legislation would also provide for specific counseling and support programs for those who are victims of harassment.

Furthermore, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require colleges to formally recognize cyberbullying as harassment, and therein use all applicable anti-harassment policies against it. The legislation also provides funding for universities to establish or expand programs that help to prevent bullying.

From Rep. Halt’s press release
:

“Universities should not only be institutions of learning, but places of compassion and respect as well,” Holt said. “The purpose of our legislation, named in memory of Tyler Clementi, is to support colleges as they put in place and strengthen anti-harassment and anti-bullying programs. We can’t legislate tolerance, but we can work to make campuses a more positive and safe atmosphere.”

“The tragic impact of bullying has the attention of the entire nation, from forums at the White House to conversations around dinner tables, and we must all take steps to prevent harassment,” said Lautenberg, who is participating in an anti-bullying summit at the White House today. “This legislation would ensure that all college students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and civil environment. 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.”

The legislation is named in honor of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year-old freshman at Rutgers University who took his life in September 2010 after his roommate and another student harassed him and violated his privacy over the Internet.

[...]

The bill is supported by Garden State Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Women’s Law Center, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Anti-Defamation League, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Trevor Project, Security on Campus, Inc., National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.

This comes as the White House just last week opened its doors for a conference on bullying prevention. The Obama administration also launched the stopbullying.gov website.

The website provides information on how to deal with bullying for teens, young adults, parents, educators and also provides a page on community actions too. Also, there are dedicated pages dealing with cyberbullying and anti-LGBT.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill to tackle anti-LGBT bullying and institutionalized homophobia in public schools, was also recently reintroduced in Congress. Read more about the legislation here.
 

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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14 comments

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5:26PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

All haters (christians and republicans) will get whats coming to them. Karma people. Karma.

11:38AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

thanks noted

7:10AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Tahnks for posting. Hope it passes this time.

4:44PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

@William Y.: AGREED!!

4:24PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Oops did not mean to post it twice. I did not think it went through the first time.

4:11PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Pass this bill and then extend it to high schools, middle schools and grammar schools.

2:46PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

What a useless bill. It is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Why wait till kids are in college or university where they have learned their bad behavior and then try and correct it. World wide education in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else.
Children should be taught that every child have their own strengths and weaknesses and children should use their strengths to help not tease or bully. Along with this class, Sex Education should be taught from Masturbation,LGBT and all forms of sex. But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the bud so that Sexual Assault, Bullying, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

2:43PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

What a useless bill. It is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Why wait till kids are in college or university where they have learned their bad behavior and then try and correct it. World wide education in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else.
Children should be taught that every child have their own strengths and weaknesses and children should use their strengths to help not tease or bully. Along with this class, Sex Education should be taught from Masturbation,LGBT and all forms of sex. But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the bud so that Sexual Assault, Bullying, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

10:08AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I hope it passes this time, because we have become a nation of haters, and that's not what this country is supposed to be. Yes, Victoris, it is a damned shame we need a law in order to practice common curtesy and respect... and Mirands, this law should be for all peoples, not just those trying to get a college degree... somewhere down the line in the past 40-50 years, Americans have forgotten how to treat each other with common dignity and respect... we've become like feral animals, fighting for that last shred of meat.

9:42AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Good luck !

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