Was Rutgers University notified of the problem Tyler Clementi had with his roommate allegedly invading his privacy by releasing a live feed of his sexual encounter to the Internet before his death? If so, did Rutgers take quick enough action to defuse to toxic situation? Or did Rutgers take too long to act in this crisis situation?
Did Tyler Clementi Seek Support Online after Invasion of Privacy?
Gawker.com is reporting that Tyler may have posted online in a gay forum about the problem he had with his roommate allegedly invading his privacy. The posts seem to precisely detail the events that upset Tyler. The postings were made during the same time period that Tyler encountered his problem with his roommate.
Gawker reports that the poster in the forum described “filling out a room change request and reporting his roommate to school officials after his sexual encounter with another man aired on the Internet.” The poster wasn’t too optimistic that Rutgers would take action. He posted “the school really prolly won’t do much of anything.” Was that statement prescient?
Gawker.com determined that the IP address of the posts in the forum did come from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Was Tyler realistic about the fact that universities too often don’t take quick action when needed?
Is Rutgers Culpable for Lack of Action?
If this poster was Tyler why didn’t Rutgers immediately move him out of the room with Ravi once the school was notified of the problem? Why was Ravi given the alleged opportunity to try to transmit a second encounter of Tyler’s to the Internet?
Some situations need to be handled immediately, especially when they involve a possible hate crime. Alas, many universities don’t handle crisis situations well. Sometimes they are so busy trying to quell any release of the news to the public that they do not take quick action to help the student. Did Rutgers try to help this student or was the university in a PR meltdown?
Rutgers University: One Student Dead & Two Going to Jail?
Right now one Rutgers student is dead and two are likely headed to jail. What is the exact timeframe of when Rutgers knew about the first invasion of privacy incident? Did Rutgers know about Tyler’s problem before his suicide? Let’s hope some clear answers are found to these questions soon.
If Tyler reported his roommate problem to an RA in the dorm where he lived what happened next? Was action taken or was the university waiting to hold a meeting on the issue? Were the police called in?
Also, were the parents of all three of the students notified immediately if Tyler reported the alleged invasion of privacy incident? Some universities will not notify parents of events on campus due to privacy of the adult student. However, in situations that can be life threatening those rules are often not followed.
Rutgers University is off to a bad start this school year. They have lost Tyler Clementi and they are probably going to have to expel the two students who allegedly invaded his privacy. Is Rutgers innocent of all knowledge of any of the events involving Tyler until after his death? Or did administrators have knowledge of this cyber bullying and fail to take action?
Tyler’s family and the other person involved in the sex scene that was transmitted to the Internet probably have a lot of questions for Rutgers. This incident could involve many people on campus. Also, students on campus who watched the video on live stream and did not report it might also face discipline from Rutgers.
Right now the university and those who knew Tyler are trying to piece together the last days of his life. Who did he tell about his problem? Did any of those people also reach out to the university? What evidence is there on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the two students who allegedly invaded Tyler’s privacy.
College Life in a Wired World
In this very wired world college students are using technology with wild abandon. Do universities and colleges have any chance of ensuring that student behavior online is appropriate per college guidelines? Is what students do on private time on campus their business or does the college have an obligation to report to authorities students who use the Internet to harass or bully other students on campus?
There will be much interest in seeing what charges are brought against the two Rutgers students. This case may set a precedent for determining what constitutes a hate crime on the Internet and what the consequences for cyber bullying should be.
Get Help if Cyber Bullied
And to any other students being cyber bullied, reach out for help. Let your parents know, tell the police, and alert the university. Get an appointment at the university counseling center. Tell them it is an emergency.
If the university does not take action keep pushing for them to report the incident. If the university is uncooperative have parents call the university president. Also have the parents send a written letter via certified mail to the university about any incident involving harassment or cyber bullying.
The website The Trevor Project offers a hotline for around the clock talk about cyber bullying and gay issues. Call 866-4-U-Trevor. The website of The Trevor Project is found HERE.