Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Outlines New Legislation to Protect College Students From Harassment
Lautenberg to Join Garden State Equality This Evening to Honor the Memory of Tyler ClementiLautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 NEWARK, N.J. – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced a new legislative effort to ensure that colleges and universities have in place anti-harassment policies, which are not currently required by federal law. Lautenberg is drafting legislation he plans to introduce when the U.S. Senate is back in session in November that would require colleges to create policies prohibiting the harassment of any student. The bill would also provide funding for schools to establish programs to deter harassment of students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students.
"The suicide of Tyler Clementi is a tragic reminder that college dormitories, dining halls and classrooms are not always safe places for students," Lautenberg said. "We need to increase efforts that ensure all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment. My legislation will fill a void in federal law and for the first time require colleges to establish plans to protect their students from harassment and bullying."
Lautenberg’s new legislation would require colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to adopt a code of conduct that prohibits bullying and harassment of students, and to have in place a policy to deal with complaints and incidents of harassment. The schools would be required to recognize cyberbullying as a form of harassment. The bill would also create a competitive grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to help colleges and universities establish programs that seek to prevent harassment and bullying, including the harassment of LGBT students.
In addition, Lautenberg is a co-sponsor of the “Student Non-Discrimination Act” (SNDA), legislation that would prohibit harassment and discrimination in public elementary and secondary schools across all 50 states based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. For schools that do not comply with the regulations, the bill would allow the cut-off of federal funds. This bill would prohibit verbal intimidation and harassment by fellow students and teachers.
Later this evening, Sen. Lautenberg will join Garden State Equality at a town meeting being held at Rutgers University in memory of Tyler Clementi. The meeting will bring federal and state elected officials together with leaders of gay rights organizations to stand up for LGBT students who suffer disproportionately high rates of harassment.