Lautenberg: RU's Rice shows need for anti-bullying laws

WASHINGTON – The video-taped ravings of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice – fired Wednesday morning – show the need for anti-bullying laws at colleges, New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Rush Holt said today.

“This incident shows us that physical and emotional abuse of college students by faculty is occurring right under our noses,” the two Democrats said in a news release. Rice was fired after video surfaced of him berating players with homophobic slurs, shoving them and throwing basketballs at them.

The two lawmakers had previously introduced a bill requiring colleges and universities to include a policy statement prohibiting harassment by students, faculty, and staff. It also authorizes grants for programs to prevent bullying.

“Rutgers made the right decision by finally firing Mike Rice for his deplorable actions and homophobic slurs, but more needs to be done to make sure this type of abuse is stopped and a strong code of conduct protecting students from such harassment is enforced,” Lautenberg and Holt said.

The bill, named the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, is named for a Rutgers freshman who committed suicide in 2010 after being outed as gay. Clementi’s roommate had secretly recorded Clementi with another man and showed the video to others. Clementi, 18, jumped off the George Washington bridge several days after learning of the video.