New York, NY, May 21, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement in response to the sentencing of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy for spying on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man.
Judge Glenn Berman ordered Ravi to report to the Middlesex County Adult Correctional facility on May 31 to begin serving a 30-day jail sentence, followed by 300 hours of community service.
Etzion Neuer, acting ADL New Jersey Regional Director, said:
When bias-related crimes and incidents occur, they demand a special response because of their unique psychological impact on the victim. Whether the 30-day jail sentence was appropriate — and we have some concerns whether it was — it should not be misinterpreted as downplaying the gravity of Ravi's actions. It is our hope that through his mandated community service he will emerge from this tragedy with a better understanding of the devastating impact of cyberbullying.
We must not lose sight of the institutional and societal contexts that allowed Ravi and his peers to think it was funny or acceptable to engage in anti-gay rhetoric and other biased behavior. We must face the fact that any number of young people in any of our communities might have found themselves in a similar situation. As has been demonstrated in this case, the law is a blunt instrument when addressing these issues. The systemic problems of prejudice and bullying are best addressed through comprehensive anti-bias education – in school, at home, in religious and community settings - everywhere we educate children to be socially and emotionally productive.
True justice for Tyler Clementi cannot be found in any prison sentence, but rather in schools and communities – when we work to ensure that no student feels socially isolated or marginalized.
Ravi, 20, was found guilty on March 16 on charges of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension and witness tampering for spying on his former Rutgers roommate, Tyler Clementi. Clementi committed suicide days after learning Ravi had covertly observed an encounter with Clementi and another man and encouraged others to watch through a camera on Ravi's computer.