Rutgers University Emails Subpoenaed For Clementi Case


Prosecutors have issued subpoenas to Rutgers University in order to get a better idea of how the New Jersey school responded to Tyler Clementi's complaints against his roommate, Dharun Ravi, who's accused of streaming Clementi's sex life on the internet, an act that allegedly sparked Clementi's suicide.

From the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

Prosecutors asked for the subpoenas after investigators felt some at the state university were not fully cooperating with the investigation into the high-profile suicide, said two officials who were briefed on the probe. The officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak about the ongoing inquiry.

Campus officials denied they are obstructing the Clementi investigation. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — a federal law that protects the privacy of student records — requires the university protect certain student documents, said E.J. Miranda, a Rutgers spokesman.

"The university is cooperating with the investigation. In some instances, a subpoena is required before the university can release information protected by federal law," Miranda said.

Though the school newspaper's editorial board believes the rest of America has exploited Clementi's death, this case will no doubt become a watershed moment for the crusade against homophobia.

On a related note, Ravi and suspected accomplice Molly Wei's respective attorneys insist there was no anti-gay bias in their clients' actions.


  1. Trev says

    I’m glad you called this a watershed moment. This may well be the Stonewall of our generation.

    Culpability for gay teen suicide is the one issue that the haters can’t spin. They try, as in the Targum editorial, but they can’t make a rationed argument without exposing their cruelty and hypocrisy.

    There is blood on the hands of everyone who bashes gay people from the Fred Phelps’s of the world to the nicest, gentlest, friendliest moderate Christians who claim to hate the sin but not the sinner.

    Our movement has to keep the spotlight squarely on gay teen suicide. It’s the right thing to do for the kids and it’s the best way to silence the haters.

  2. says

    “On a related note, Ravi and suspected accomplice Molly Wei’s respective attorneys insist there was no anti-gay bias in their clients’ actions.” – that, of course, is total bullshit. The broadcasting was entirely BECAUSE he was gay and having an encounter with another man. The ‘no anti-bias’ claim is coming from their attorneys in an attempt to keep their clients away from long-term prison sentences. These two DESERVE 20 years – at least. We’ll never see or hear from Tyler again but you can be assured these two will appear on every morning show, will write books on how they were abused and misjudged, etc. Makes me sick! Prison! Nothing less then long-term prison.

  3. Landon says

    Everything is happening the way that it should:

    1) Rutgers withholds Clementi’s personal emails
    2) Prosecutors get a subpoena
    3) Rutgers hands over the emails in a legally responsible fashion.

    Responsible universities take FERPA seriously. Why are prosecutors bad-mouthing Rutgers in the press?

  4. EJ says

    What a heartbreak, for the boy’s family, the other gay students at this State school, is this not a cry for help and should we not as gay citizens move forward and stop these bias crimes. There was no joke in his roommate’s actions and he and the friend must be held accountable to the greatest extent of the law. My heart breaks when I think of teenagers who have no where to turn. Thank God for the Trevor Project, we should all get behind it and support their good work any way we can, and remember money speaks with a very loud voice.

  5. Darren says

    Have to agree with Landon.. FERPA is nothing to play with, and a subpeona is required to release personal information as the students in college have rights now as they are typically 18 and up.

    The question will be whether or not anyone at the college changed, edited, doctored, etc.., any of the emails or not. And that would get nasty if that’s the case.

    Personally, I hope these kids get as much punishment as is allowed. This is absolutely 100% intolerable, and of course, no matter who is in the Congress it seems that gay rights issues will continue to take a back seat. Enough of this bs.

  6. JimSur212 says

    I am yet convinced that this case has ANYTHING to do with homophobia, let alone a “watershed moment.” The mere fact that Tyler was gay and was taped kissing a man does not make it homophobia. If the accused taped Tyler making out with a girl it would not have been hetero-phobia. No evidence has been presented yet to establish that homophobia was the motive. This is clearly an invasion of privacy case and a distribution of imagery case and the maximum punishment under New Jersey law of up to 5 years in prison is quite harsh. The defendant can not justly be held accountable for Tyler’s death, but he should certainly be held accountable for what he did.

  7. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Hopefully they’ll be charged with a hate crime…and NJ also has a hate crimes statute, so the Federal hate crimes isn’t the only applicable law.

    Let the courts determine “if” the hate crimes laws apply AFTER an examination of the facts in court.

  8. Paul R says

    @JimSur212: “hetero-phobia”? Come on. Him kissing a woman wouldn’t have been a big deal because men and women kiss all the time and don’t get mocked for it. No one would have cared about a straight couple being broadcast kissing on the web. That’s the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard.

    One point I think people have been afraid to make is that his roommate and the roommate’s accomplice are South and East Asian, where cultures and religions generally scorn homosexuality far more than in the West.

  9. JimSur212 says

    @PAUL R: One reason no one has brought up the religions of the accused is that so far there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that it played any role. These kids could be as fully Americanized as you and me. YOU SOUND LIKE ONE OF THOSE TEA PARTIERS AGAINST THE “NOT AT GROUND ZERO” MUSLIM CULTURAL CENTER.

  10. JimSur212 says

    And by the way, I went to the link in this story to the Rutger’s student newspaper, and barring any additional evidence, I agree with the editorial that our community is trying to turn this horrible tragedy into something it isn’t because it suits our agenda.

    Five other kids were unequivically bullied and tormented for being gay and committed suicide as a result in the past 10 days. WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT THEM NEARLY AS MUCH? WHY ALL THE FOCUS ON THIS CASE – WHICH IS THE WEAKEST OF THEM ALL???

  11. Chris says

    Btw, the editor and opinion editor of the Rutgers paper both told me on the phone that they thought no crime had been committed. Not no hate crime, no crime at all against Tyler. I mentioned being videoed w/o permission. They replied that happened “all the time” at Rutgers — they didn’t make distinction between being videoed in public or in your bedroom as Tyler was — and thought it was “no big deal”.

  12. Chris says

    I don’t know if this a hate crime. But these kids taped and exhibited sexual activity against someone’s will. They are clearly sex offenders under NJ law.

  13. Paul R says

    @Chris, if they actually said that (and I have no reason to doubt you), I just lost a lot of respect for Rutgers. Though maybe only dumb kids pursue journalism these days, since accurate reporting and even opinions are dying.

Leave A Reply