Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act

H.R. 1421; S. 773

The Problem

Numerous studies have shown that bullying and harassment are widespread throughout college and university campuses in our country.  Those subject to this harassment are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and lower academic achievement.  According to a 2010 study by Campus Pride, LGBTQ college students are nearly twice as likely to experience harassment when compared to their non-LGBTQ peers.  Despite such statistics, there is no federal requirement that colleges and universities have policies to protect their students from harassment.

What is the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act?

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act requires colleges and universities receiving federal student aid funding to enact an anti-harassment policy. Specifically, the legislation requires policies that prohibit harassment of enrolled students by other students, faculty, and staff based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion and requires colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees upon request.  It also explicitly prohibits behavior often referred to as cyberbullying.

The bill creates a competitive grant program at the Department of Education through which institutions can apply for funding to initiate, expand, or improve programs that prevent the harassment of students; provide counseling to victims or perpetrators; or educate or train students, faculty, and staff about ways to prevent or address harassment.

Who is Tyler Clementi?

Tyler Clementi, for whom the bill is named, was an 18 year-old freshman at Rutgers University in the fall of 2010.  Without Tyler’s knowledge, his roommate streamed video footage on the internet of Tyler in his dorm room with another male.  After his roommate attempted to stream another such interaction a few days later, Tyler ended his life.

Broad Support

Numerous legal, civil rights, and educational organizations support the bill, including the National Women’s Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Association for University Women (AAUW), the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Trevor Project.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act was introduced in the House Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and in the Senate by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on March 18, 2015.

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other Federal Legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: March 11, 2016