Tyler Clementi’s Family gives Rutgers a nice Christmas present…A Lawsuit!

Rutgers University

Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after classmate Dharun Ravi posted a web-stream link for all to view Clementi engaging with another male, may be pleased to know that his family does care about what happened to him after all.

It seems to have taken some time, since Tyler Clementi committed suicide on September 22, 2010, for anyone to have charges filed against Rutgers University for not protecting Tyler Clementi from the likes of Dharun Ravi and his cohort, Molly Wei.  Although Wei appears to be an innocent bystander in the tragedy of Tyler Clementi, Wei’s action of doing nothing is reason enough for her to be charged along with Ravi.  Sadly, although there were many cases prior to Clementi’s that expressed deliberate and malicious bullying, this was probably the first of its magnitude to receive national attention.  Though there are many stories out there that want to save the reputations of Ravi and Wei, there are just as many who want to see justice brought against them.

If Ravi was not gay, why then was he on a gay website posting information about his roommate?  On August 22, a link was posted, by Ravi, on the website “JustUsBoys” that expressed Ravi finding out his roommate was gay.  Both Ravi and Clementi had placed posts on that site.  Ravi’s initial information about his roommate was tweeted and then later posted a link to the website.  Why would a roommate do something like this?  In some way, did Clementi and Ravi not see eye-to-eye about their sexuality?  Did Ravi need to get back at Clementi for some strange and obsessed reason?  Then, after the first taping, September 19, why didn’t Ravi’s accomplice, Wei, advise school officials that Ravi was violating another students privacy?  Did she in fact enjoy what she was seeing?  She had to.  To say that she didn’t watch or turned away would be silly.  And, two days later, in an effort to be popular as the virtuoso, Ravi posts another Twitter message to Ravi’s 148 followers:  “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12.  Yes its happening again.”  How can anyone say that this type of behavior was harmless and that Ravi didn’t mean to cause any harm?  Well, it probably could be seen that way had Ravi and Clementi had some sort of understanding that a taping would be done.  Then, and only then, would Clementi be viewed as an accomplice to his own crime.  Instead, Ravi confessed and confided in Wei – who knew of the possible harm inflicted upon Clementi, but did nothing about it.

Much too often people try to use the excuse that their childhood caused them to act in a way to inflict pain and/or misery upon another.  So when we hear about the privileged lifestyles of Ravi and Wei, what then is the excuse?  As both suspects are in hiding, at least the attorney for Ravi, Steven Altman, is telling the public not to “rush to charges” against Ravi.  But for the public to know the truth, there would be the need to have Ravi talk.  He should be forced to talk about what led him to do what he did.  Also, there is the need to have Rutgers University talk.  As such a prestigious college enlists and houses such potential esteemed leaders of today, the university should be aware, at all times, the goings-ons of each and every student.  To say that this is a violation of students rights, would be ridiculous.  For the students who have not and or do not experience any trouble, they are the ones who can easily and readily voice about their rights…until they are actually violated.  They don’t see things that way.  Students who are raped on campus will likely keep it a secret by not exposing the problem, withdrawing from school (giving some other reason to their classmates), or even seeking therapy for their problem only to fall deeper and deeper into depression.

With the fees paid by each student towards and for Student Services, there should be some form of protection.  Housing very bright information technology experts, Rutgers University should have been able to recognize that there was an influx of internet activity from the campus.  Once the problem was recognized, the site should have and could have been shut down.

Was it time that the Clementi Family needed to make their decision?  How can Rutgers University win the case against the Clementis?  I don’t see there being any loophole protecting the school from a jury going by way of the Clementis.  Rest assured, there will be a settlement done outside of court and a confidentiality agreement signed.  But if Rutgers does settle, would the insurance the students pay to the university cover the fees for the students?  Now, will the young man who was in the live stream with Tyler come forward?  Where is he?  Has he left the university as well?

Sure no money will bring back Tyler.  It won’t even make up for the aggravation he endured by the school and the two students who made it happen.  But the Clementis will be advocates for future parents whose child may be a prime candidate for this type of behavior.  Tyler Clementi was bullied by two students.  The university enhanced their bullying.  It would be such a shame if the Clementi Family was bullied as well.  We look forward to this appropriate lawsuit.

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