Introduction of Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to Reduce Bullying

Murray, Baldwin, Pocan Introduce Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to Reduce Bullying and Harassment at Colleges and Universities Across the Country

One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to be harassed than their peers | Legislation would require colleges and universities to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion | Bill is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman college student who died by suicide after experiencing harassment and cyberbullying.

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) re-introduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, at colleges and universities around the country. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, or religion. The bill also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs. 

The legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who died by suicide after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the internet. One in five college students are victims of cyberbullying, and LGBTQ students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment as their peers.

“No student should have to put their wellbeing, their safety, or their life in jeopardy just to access an education, but sadly we’re seeing students around the country take drastic measures because of bullying and harassment,” said Senator Murray. “In introducing this legislation, I’m calling on colleges and universities to step up and start taking responsibility for students’ safety, and I’m so thankful for the support and partnership of advocates like Jane Clementi—who is fighting to ensure every student—no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love—can pursue higher education free from discrimination, harassment, or bullying.

“No student should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation, named in honor of Tyler Clementi, is an important step forward in not only preventing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement. Everyone at colleges and universities across America should be able to pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

“No student should be harassed or cyberbullied for who they are, or who they love,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Bullying is a real and persistent danger for many LGBTQ students at our colleges and universities, but there is no federal legislation that specifically protects students from being targeted based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And more than two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the Administration has worked to strip the rights of LGBTQ students as it rolled back regulations on equality at the Department of Education and directed the Department of Justice to file amicus briefs in support of discriminatory policies. With the White House’s refusal to act, we must take a strong stance to ensure that all students are protected. That’s why the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is so important, as it ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds.”

“We are grateful to Congressman Pocan and Senator Murray for reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, and fully support this legislation.  We believe all institutions of higher education should have policies to keep all their students safe.  Because every student deserves a positive educational experience in a safe environment free of harassment, bullying or humiliation, where they can learn, study and thrive regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or whatever else makes them special and precious; and every parent should have peace of mind that their children will be protected and free of harm while in the school’s care,”  said Jane Clementi, CEO and Founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Tyler’s mother.   

“No student should be subject to harassment or discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “The past two years have seen a rollback of protections for LGBTQ students by the Trump-Pence-DeVos administration. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is a significant step forward in curbing anti-LGBTQ harassment and fostering environments that are affirming and encouraging for LGBTQ students. We thank Senators Patty Murray and Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Mark Pocan for their leadership.”

“Harassment is rampant on college campuses and undermines students’ ability to thrive in a safe environment,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). “This bill is a critical step forward in combatting this scourge. It strengthens protections against harassment and would support much needed prevention and training programs. Every student in America deserves the right to learn without fear. This bill helps make that promise a reality.”

In addition to Senators Murray and Baldwin, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is also cosponsored by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Duckworth (IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harris (D-CA), Hassan (D-NH), Hirono (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Rosen (D-NV), Sanders (D-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Shaheen (D-NH), Smith (D-MN), Van Hollen (D-MD), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Wyden (D-OR). 

In addition to Congressman Pocan, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act is also cosponsored by Representatives Bonamici, Brownley, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Cicilline, Cohen, Craig, Crist, DelBene, Susan Davis, Deutch, Engel, Eshoo, Garamendi, Grijalva, Hayes, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Lieu, Lowenthal, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, McCollum, Meng, Moore, Morelle, Moulton, Nadler, Norton, Pallone, Panetta, Peters, Pappas, Rice, Roybal-Allard, Ryan, Scanlon, Schakowsky, Schiff, Soto, Swalwell, Mike Thompson, Titus, Wasserman Schultz, and Watson Coleman.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Tyler Clementi Foundation, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, American Association of University Women (AAUW), GLSEN, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

To read the fact sheet of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, click HERE.

TYLER CLEMENTI:

Smart, talented and creative: Tyler Clementi was deeply loved by family and friends for his kind heart and bright spirit. At the young age of 18, he became a victim of a horrible act of cyber-harassment and humiliation. His story puts a human face on the consequences of cruelty, which has been faced by millions of others suffering in silence in their schools, colleges, teams, workplaces, or faith communities. Tyler’s story has inspired tens of thousands of youth and adults to be Upstanders in the face of bullying, harassment and humiliation across the globe.

Read about bullying statistics here.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Visit the Foundation at https://tylerclementi.org/tylers-story/

If you are facing any kind of stress, harassment or feelings of hopelessness, don’t wait another moment to reach out for help. Here are some great organizations that can help you now: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), The Trevor Project (866-488-7386) and the Jed Foundation

POSTED BY MELANIE NATHAN
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