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Notice filed for Rutgers suit

Parents of a student who killed himself preserve their right to sue the school.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The parents of a Rutgers University student who killed himself after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on him during a tryst with another man have filed notice that they are considering suing the school.

Joseph and Jane Clementi, parents of Tyler Clementi, filed a notice Friday preserving their right to sue. They have to wait six months after filing the notice to file a lawsuit over their son's death, which became a symbol in a national outcry over the bullying of young gay people.

In the notice, the couple said, "It appears Rutgers University failed to act, failed to put in place, and/or failed to implement and enforce policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts, and that Rutgers failed to act timely and appropriately."

The claim did not list how much in damages the Ridgewood family would seek.

The notice was given shortly before a 90-day deadline, and the family has not decided whether to move ahead with the lawsuit, said the Clementis' attorney, Paul Mainardi of Brown & Connery in Woodbury. Without the notice, he said, the family would lose the option to sue.

Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda said in a statement that the school was not to blame.

"We at the university share the family's sense of loss of their son, who was a member of our community. We also recognize that a grieving family may question whether someone or some institution could somehow have responsibility for their son's death," Miranda said. "While the university understands this reaction, the university is not responsible for Tyler Clementi's suicide."

Clementi, 18, a violinist who was in his first weeks of college, killed himself Sept. 22, days after a roommate and another Rutgers student allegedly used a webcam to peek at his liaison with another man.

The suspects, Dharun Ravi and fellow freshman Molly Wei, were charged with invasion of privacy and have withdrawn from Rutgers. Authorities say they are weighing whether to charge them with bias intimidation.

Clementi's death came amid a string of high-profile suicides of young people who were gay or perceived to be. Partly because of the way he killed himself - jumping off the George Washington Bridge - Clementi has become a face of the issue. Some fear that his death may have sparked copycat suicides among other vulnerable young people.

President Obama and celebrities including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres have talked publicly about his death, and said young gay and lesbian people need to know that life gets better.