On September 22, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide. His roommate, Dharun Ravi, and his friend Molly Wei, secretly videotaped him during a sexual encounter with another man, and then broadcast the videos over the Internet.
So whatever happened to Ravi and Wei?
Last week, they officially dropped out of Rutgers University. Ravi transferred to another school, while Wei dropped out and is waiting for the controversy to die out, due to concerns about her safety.
Apparently, both students were vilified and shunned by most of their classmates, and the University itself was considering disciplining the two. Now they’re free from disciplinary action, but they may face five years in prison. They’re charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly using a webcam to watch Clementi during a sexual encounter.
Their attorneys are arguing that these allegations are false. They claim that the feed from the webcam was only viewed on one computer and was not transmitted to others. They also say that the live feed showed Clementi and another man hugging and kissing, but not having sex.
Whether or not these details are true is up for debate. But there’s no question that Ravi and Wei invaded Clementi’s privacy and targeted him because of his sexual orientation. Even if the webcam didn’t catch Clementi while he was having sex, the students should not be given a free pass for teasing, stalking and making a webcam show out of Clementi’s life.
Cyber bullying can have consequences that are just as severe as any other type of bullying. Ravi and Wei used cyber bullying to invade Clementi’s privacy and expose his sexual orientation to others, all for a few laughs over the Internet.
They may be able to leave Rutgers. But they shouldn’t be allowed to abdicate the roles they played in this tragic case.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons