WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today they are co-sponsoring the Tyler Clementi Education Anti-Harassment Act, introducing it alongside Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-02).
Named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University who died by suicide after being harassed and bullied online, the legislation calls on colleges and universities to implement anti-harassment policies targeting actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion. It also requires that the term “cyberbullying” be recognized as a form of harassment.
“Cyberbullying and harassment have no place in our society and we must act decisively to call out and stop this behavior when it occurs,” Merkley, the lead Senate sponsor of the Equality Act, said. “While we work to pass the Equality Act to guarantee LGBTQ individuals full equal rights at the federal level, we must also work to prevent bullying and harassment in our colleges and universities. No one should face devastating harassment from fellow students just because of who they are or whom they love, and this bill is an important step in making that a reality.”
“The scourge of harassment and cyberbullying that terrorizes and intimidates people in our country must end,” Wyden said. “This bill protecting college and university students when they’re often away from home for the first time and especially vulnerable is a crucial and long-overdue safeguard for mental health and equal treatment of all Americans. I’m all in with the fight to pass this legislation, as well as to co-sponsor Senator Merkley’s Equality Act.”
In addition to Merkley and Wyden, the bill is cosponsored by 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), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 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), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).