Transcripts from an online bulletin board suggest that Rutgers student Tyler Clementi complained to his RA about his roommate’s spying and online taunts just hours before he killed himself, and that he initially hesitated to raise the issue with the university because he feared they’d just make the situation worse. (“I don’t wanna report him and then end up with nothing happening except him getting pissed at me,” said one message believed to have been written by Clementi the day before he died.)
Now a new report claims that New Jersey authorities have subpoenaed emails pertaining to Rutgers’ handling of Clementi’s complaint because of concerns that the university was “not fully cooperating” with their criminal investigation.
Given all this, questions have been raised with increasing urgency about how Rutgers responded to the incident, and whether any institutional failures may have contributed to the still-murky chain of events that led Clementi to take his own life.
But yesterday President Richard McCormick, answering questions from reporters about the case for the first time, declared that he has reviewed university records and concluded that Rutgers “responded appropriately to the information we had.” “Based on everything I know,” he said, “I believe that we did all we could and we did the right thing.”
McCormick cited privacy laws in refusing to provide further details of the university’s handling of the situation. Future litigation may make those records public, however, giving Rutgers students and others an opportunity to judge the accuracy of McCormick’s assurances for themselves.