U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

On Anniversary of Tyler Clementi’s 2010 Death, Baldwin, Murray Pocan Renew Push to Pass Anti-Harassment Legislation

Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2023 comes as harassment and bullying, especially of LGBTQ+ community, on the rise

By - Sep 22nd, 2023 01:07 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the anniversary of the death of Tyler Clementi, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-02) led the introduction of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2023 to help prevent bullying and harassment at colleges and universities around the country. Tyler Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers University, who tragically lost his life to suicide in 2010 after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over his sexual orientation.

The bill would finally require colleges and universities receiving federal support to establish anti-harassment policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion, and it would require schools to recognize “cyberbullying” as a form of harassment.

“No one should live in fear of being bullied just because of who they are, especially in our schools,” said Senator Baldwin. “In the face of increased harassment and discrimination, particularly against members of the LGBTQ+ community, our legislation makes crystal clear that kind of hate has no place on our college campuses or universities. All students deserve to have the freedom to succeed in a safe and healthy place and pursue their dreams, free of discrimination.”

“No one should be bullied or harassed because of who they are or who they love,” said Representative Pocan. “Today we honor Tyler’s life by reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to ensure that students can learn in peace and not have to worry about living in fear or humiliation for being themselves.”

“We are grateful to all those who keep working to improve school environments by making them kinder, safer, and more inclusive than what Tyler experienced while attending an institution of higher education,” said Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi’s mother and Co-Founder and CEO of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “Special thanks to Congressman Pocan and Senators Murray and Baldwin for reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. We fully support this legislation because we believe all institutions of higher education should have policies to keep all their students safe. After all, every student deserves a positive educational experience free of harassment, bullying or humiliation in an inclusive learning environment where they can study, grow, and thrive regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, 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.”

Students across the country continue to face widespread bullying and harassment on college campuses, and LGBTQ+ students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment in higher education. A report published last year found that one third of LGBTQ+ students at four-year colleges were bullied, harassed, or assaulted, and 19% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers were similarly mistreated. This widespread harassment has detrimental effects on student’s wellbeing and educational opportunities. The same 2022 report found that 35% of LGBTQ+ students said their mental health was not good all or most of the time they were in college, and LGBTQ+ youth continue to experience a significantly higher risk of suicide—with 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considering attempting suicide in the last year.”

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would help protect students from campus bullying and harassment and address this widespread issue by:

  1. Requiring all colleges and universities receiving federal aid to prohibit the harassment of enrolled students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion;
  2. Requiring schools to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees, upon request.
  3. Requiring school to recognize “cyberbullying” as a form of harassment; and
  4. Creating a grant program to help colleges and universities start or expand programs to prevent harassment and provide counseling services to students who have experienced harassment.

26 Senators joined Senators Murray and Baldwin in introducing the legislation today, including Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tine Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

41 Representatives joined Representative Pocan in introducing the legislation in the House.

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2023 is endorsed by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, the American College Health Association, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and The Trevor Project.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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