Writing this column has been more rewarding than I had ever imagined it could be. I can’t believe how many people have stopped me in the halls (or in my yoga class), facebook messaged me, and emailed me about what I have written—and not just students, but professors and complete strangers, too. (Once the mother of my boss at the Princeton Historical Society happened to pick up the Targum on a day my column ran while visiting Rutgers. The world is so small.)
I’m tutoring a girl named Gabby on an expos paper about the ways in which people and governments construct social and political barriers to protect their interests. The author calls this creating “fences.”
Gabby: “I just don’t get it. If there’s a fence there, why couldn’t you just hop over it? I don’t understand what the big deal is.”
The Opinions Editor asked the columnists to sound off on the Dharun Ravi trial if we felt we had anything to say. This this week I wrote about a situation I was in a few years ago that reminds me of the Ravi/Clementi incident because that experience has influenced how I think about the trial and its verdict. I’m crossing my fingers that my parents don’t read this one. (Sorry mom and dad!) You can read about the verdict here if you have not yet been filled in. If you had not heard about Tyler Clementi there is a great piece by The New Yorker that explores the circumstances surrounding his suicide.
In the wake of the verdict in the Dharun Ravi trial, I have been thinking a lot about what the case means. I imagine many of you have, too. Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation, evidence tampering and invasion of privacy for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, with a webcam. As I followed the course of the trial, I had always been inclined to think of what Ravi did as the stupid actions of an immature boy during his first year of college. I do not think what he did was right or excusable, but I also do not think it was unusual behavior.