Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act

115th Congress: H.R. 2151; S. 954

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 would require colleges and universities receiving federal student aid funding to enact an anti-harassment policy. Specifically, the legislation would require 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 would require colleges to distribute their anti-harassment policy to all students and employees, including prospective students and employees upon request. It would explicitly prohibit behavior often referred to as cyberbullying.

The bill would also create 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 being intimate 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 Tyler Clementi Foundation, National Women’s Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, American Association for University Women, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN, and the Trevor Project.

What was the Status of the Bill in the 115th Congress?

The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) on April 26, 2017, and in the Senate by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on April 27, 2017.

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

Last Updated: December 21, 2018