Tag Archive: Tyler Clementi

Monica Lewinsky: I’m going public because of Tyler Clementi

I know, I know. I’m already tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton every damn day. It’s too early. And no, I am not Ready for Hillary and no I don’t need your bobble bottle (though the iPhone case is cool). But here we are. And it only gets moreso from here. Lynne Cheney, whose judgement is to be taken seriously of course, says Hillary was behind Vanity Fair’s Monica Lewinsky story, currently in the pre-publication tease phase, to get it out of the way before she gets serious. Laura Ingraham is only mad she didn’t think of that first. Seriously.

I didn’t care about all this when it was actually happening. Frankly, if Bill Clinton was married to me, he would be dead by now. But since he is not my husband, virtually none of what transpired between Clinton and Lewinsky is any of my damn business. And I still resent 90’s-era House Republicans for making sure I had every detail (oy, the tissues …).

Except for this, and then I’ll leave you be. Monica says she decided now to go public about what happened to her because of Tyler Clementi. Yup. Below the fold, here’s that part of the Vanity Fair tease:

Garden State Equality statement on the Dharun Ravi convictions

UPDATE: Garden State Equality statement.

The suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi moved forward efforts to protect students from bullying in all its forms, and helped drive and focus a New Jersey – and national – movement to protect gay rights. Gardent State Equality, in New Jersey, has been central to that fight. And we have all been watching for this verdict, knowing it won’t restore Tyler to his family, but may change the way all of us think of the lives of the people around us, with the respect each of us deserve.

Here is the statement following the Dharun Ravi verdict. (For disclosure’s sake, I should note that I am a member of the Garden State Equality board).

Statement is after the jump …

Dharun Ravi convictions in Tyler Clementi case

UPDATE: Garden State Equality statement.

Among the guilty verdicts returned today against Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student and roommate of Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death a few days after learning Ravi was spying on his private sexual encounters with another man in the dorm room he shared with Ravi:

GUILTY: Bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against Tyler Clementi

GUILTY: Invasion of privacy against M.B. (the other man)

GUILTY: Witness tampering

GUILTY: Evidence tampering

Star-Ledger details all counts here. (h/t dennismcgrath)

After 12 hours of deliberation over almost 3 days, the jury and 3 alternates (who did not participate in deliberations) have returned their verdicts. The trial played out over almost two weeks, with more than 30 witnesses, including dorm mates of both Ravi and Clementi, and Molly Wei, who viewed the webcam spying of Tyler Clementi’s private moments in his dorm room along with the “other man” whose identity is still being protected and is known only as M.B.. Ravi was also convicted of invading M.B.’s privacy along with Clementi, as both of them were glimpsed on Ravi’s webcam in moments meant to be private, but viewed in another room in the dorm.

The jury judged Ravi guilty of 23 of the 35 counts against him, fifteen of which are felonies.

The trial stretched over 13 days including opening and closing statements, with more than 30 witnesses and 100 pieces of evidence.

Jennifer Ehrentraut Segro

You may not have heard of Jennifer Ehrentraut Segro, but you’ve undoubtedly heard about the tragic events regarding her cousin.

Marriage equality is just one step in the struggle for equal rights.

Here’s Jennifer’s story as told to the Assembly Judiciary Committee:

Hate Radio

promoted by Rosi

In Europe this week, people are celebrating tolerance and inclusion, as embodied in the election of Anna Grodzka, reportedly the first transgender member of Poland’s Parliament.

In New Jersey, two radio talk-show personalities are having a good laugh at her expense -holding Grodzka up to ridicule and spewing their hatred and ignorance all over the Garden State’s airwaves.

Where GSE gets it wrong: Thoughts on Viki Knox, Part II

Last week, I criticized impatient calls for firing homophobic high school teacher Viki Knox as disregarding free speech rights of teachers. Today, I will explain why this approach is a strategical mistake.

Last fall, Rutgers University Freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington bridge after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, secretly filmed Clementi having a intimate encounter with another man. Just like it’s doing with Mrs. Knox now, Garden State Equality demanded that Ravi and his friend, Molly Wei, who also viewed the video, be punsihed to the fullest extent of the law. GSE did not escape criticism for its statements; a group of Rutgers students and faculty condemned what it saw as calls for vengeance. Instead, they argued, the Clementi tragedy highlighted the need for broader conversation addressing unacknowledged prejudices in the Rutgers community and in society at large. Instead of joining calls for Ravi and Wei’s punishment, they demanded policy changes at the university, including the establishment of gender-neutral housing, to create a more positive atmosphere for LGBT students. At the time, GSE dismissed them as “radical fringe group.” But last March, Rutgers announced that it would allow gender-neutral housing.

But to compare Garden State Equality’s response to Knox incident with its response to the Clementi tragedy is unfair. GSE’s statements about Ravi and Wei were infrequent and often responsive to media inquiries. Instead of organizing protests to call for the heads of the guilty, they organized town hall meetings to remember Tyler Clementi and to discuss issues of anti-gay bullying in particular and bullying in general. Instead of focusing on what the perpetrators did in the past, they focused on what should be done to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Thanks in large part to GSE’s efforts, New Jersey now has one of the strongest anti-bulling laws in the country. With Knox, on the other hand, the public message has focused solely on punishing the accused.

Garden State Equality has two options in crafting its public message in response to the Viki Knox facebook posts. One approach, the one GSE has taken so far, is to seek retribution against the teacher for expressing her ignorant views. This approach is short-sighted. The better approach is the one they employed in response to the Tyler Clementi tragedy: to use the incident to highlight the importance of school policies that support and affirm LGBT students across the state. This message is superior because it is relevant to all schools, rather than just this school; because it focuses on LGBT students, rather than homophobic teachers; because it avoids needless First Amendment costs; and because it unites, rather than divides, supporters of gay rights.

Tyler Clementi’s tormentor Dharun Ravi indicted on 15 counts

Tyler Clementi’s roommate, who secretly videoed him in a sexual encounter days before he leapt to his death off the George Washington Bridge was indicted today on 15 counts, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and tampering with evidence by a grand jury in Middlesex County. Yes, prosecutors say Dharun Ravi not only spied on Clementi’s most private moments, but he then tried to cover up what he did, by destroying evidence, and sending false tweets in an effort to throw police off his trail, according to the indictment released today.

Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein had this to say:

To those who say that Mr. Ravi’s conduct was merely a prank that students are apt to pull – and that somehow he should not receive a tough sentence – we say that’s nonsense.  That heinous philosophy has tragically done so much

to create a bullying epidemic in our state and nation in the first place.

Ravi and Molly Wei, who allegedly participated in the scheme to spy on Clementi are accused of secretly observing Clementi and a partner in the dorm room he shared with Ravi, and streaming it as it was happening via internet.  Both Ravi and Wei have withdrawn from Rutgers, which means there cannot be a university disciplinary hearing on their actions. The grand jury has not seen evidence against Wei yet; she may later face charges of her own.

Clementi’s parents intend to sue Rutgers University.

Clementi’s death rocked New Jersey. As awful, and as sad and frustrating it was, it was only one of a chain of torments young people, particularly gay young people, have had at the hands of others. New Jersey’s loss of student and musician Tyler, just 18, helped propel the NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights and federally, the anti-bullying Tyler Clementi Act, which it must be said, some right-wing media describe as a “serious threat to free speech”.  

Gov. Christie signs America’s toughest anti-bullying Law

No fanfare, but we’ll take it.

From a Garden State Equality Press Release:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today signed the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, which enacts a new paradigm in America to counter school bullying and provides a template for anti-bullying laws in other U.S. states. The bill passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature on November 22, 2010 – by 73 to 1 in the Assembly and 30 to 0 in the Senate.

Though New Jersey and 44 other states have had anti-bullying laws, experts say those laws have been based on a vague, loophole-riddled model that gives vast discretion to local school districts to do whatever they want or don’t want, and have lacked teeth to work in the real world. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights corrects that problem with a sweeping overhaul of New Jersey’s current anti-bullying law, enacted in 2002.

More reaction below the fold.

Santa Paid A “Big” Visit To Bergen County

What A way For Bergen County Dems To End The Year!  Big headlines in The Record about McNerney and two of his top aides getting big salary increases!  Seems that “our” County Executive gave up $10,000 of his salary (originally $134,617) as a “gesture”, since budget problems required furloughs for rank and file county workers during 20010.  So the Democrats lost anyway.  I campaigned for Dennis and the Democratic Freeholders, and now I’m embarrassed by him and, therefore, by my party and my own participation in his campaign.

According to The Record, Dennis’ $10,000 “gift” to the taxpayers of Bergen County was somehow restored to his salary on December 14th along with raises for his two “top” aides, Brian Hague from Middlesex County and Lynne Hurwiitz, the Municipal Chair of Hackensack.  Brian received a “promotion” his last two weeks in office along with a raise of $17,000 and Lynne was also “promoted with a raise of more thant $22,000”.   And to add to my own feeling of dismay, Mr. McNerney “didn’t even know about” these raises (including his own) until a reporter called him.  How pathetic an answer!

We, Democrats – and they are mostly responsible hardworking officials  – owe an apology to the taxpayers of Bergen for this unseemly behavior on the part of our top county official.  This column will serve as my personal apology for the time and effort I put in to Dennis McNerney’s campaign and to the residents of Bergen County for this travesty.

I’m going to return it – probably” saiid Mr. McNerney.  And if he does,  along with the unseemly raises to the “top aides”, I will apologize for my apology!  I would also ask the incoming County Executive Kathe Donovan, to investigate exactly how raises are granted in Bergen County without the County Executive even “knowing about them”.  Interesting!

Speaking of the new County Executive,
she is coming in to office with enormous good willl. I hope her actions will always justify that confidence. However, her first two appointments for County Administrator and Chief of Staff went to two Fair Lawn councilmembers.  Without passing judgment on their qualifications, I do believe their service on the Council should end pretty quickly.  It is difficult to avoid problems when trying to serve two constituencies like this.  Their terms of office do not end until 2013, so I hope they will be asked to resign well before then.

Sorry for spending so much time on politics in my own County of Bergen, but these actions required some extra spotlight.

Taking Christie to task… below the fold.