By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com March 16 2012 3:26 PM ET
The roommate of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi was convicted Friday of some bias intimidation charges as well as charges of invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence.
Because the charges are being identified as hate crimes, Dharun Ravi could face up to 10 years in prison for spying on Clementi with a webcam. After Clementi realized he had been watched during an intimate act behind the door of his dorm room, he committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010.
Ravi, 20, faced 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. After 12 hours of deliberation, the jury delivered its verdict Friday in a New Brunswick, N.J., court.
Ravi could also face deportation to India, where he was born and raised, according to the Associated Press.
Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein released a statement Friday, shortly after the verdict, calling upon Ravi to learn from his experience "by making amends and fighting for the justice and dignity of every individual, including people who are LGBT."
He added, "So are we 'happy' with the verdict? 'Happy' doesn't seem like the right word given that Ravi has been convicted and will now face the appropriate societal consequences. 'Happy' also seems too trivial a word when we remember that Tyler Clementi lost his life. But we do believe this verdict sends the important message that a 'kids will be kids' defense is no excuse to bully another student."
Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, announced that his organization is issuing a call to action for all college campuses to learn from Ravi's case by immediately implementing policies, programs, and practices to keep their LGBT students safe.
“Though the trial has ended, there are no verdicts, no words and no sentiments that will ever bring Tyler Clementi back to his friends and to his family,” Windmeyer said in a statement Friday. “Additionally, this trial’s conclusion will not end the daily torment and harassment of LGBT students on college and university campuses across the nation.”