Local News
5:33 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Fairness Campaign Director Says Rutgers Student's Sentence Is Too Light

The head of the Fairness Campaign says the the sentence is too light for a former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation against his gay roommate.

Dharun Ravi used a webcam to spy on Tyler Clementi's romantic encounter with another man. Clementi committed suicide days later, fueling a national debate over the effects of bullying. Ravi was facing up to ten years in prison, but will serve 30 days, followed by three years of probation. Fairness groups across the country have weighed in on the sentence, with many saying it was too light.

“He was going to humiliate Tyler Clementi to such a degree that to pick up the pieces of his life would have been incredibly difficult. And the reality for Tyler Clementi is it was so difficult there was no way out except taking himself out of the world. Thirty days for that is not equal. It's not justice," says Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.

The group Garden State Equality issued the following statement (via NPR):

"Moments ago, Judge Berman decided to sentence Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail. We have been public in taking a position of balance: We opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi. We have spoken out against giving him the maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and against deporting him. That would have been vengeance beyond punishment and beyond sending a message to the rest of society. "But we have similarly rejected the other extreme that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and today's sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other. This was not merely a childhood prank gone awry. This was not a crime without bias."

Hartman says the ruling shows the need for strong anti-bullying and hate crime legislation.

“This shines a bright light upon the need for stronger anti-bullying legislation across the nation and certainly for stiffer penalties when people are targeting people based on prejudice," he says.