Have you ever felt like you were being watched, but kept your mouth shut for fear of being committed to a psychiatric hospital?
Chinemerem Eze suspected that she was being spied upon and reported this to her school, Brooklyn College, in December of 2008. Instead of investigating, the school’s staff quickly diagnosed her with psychiatric problems and committed her to a hospital. Subsequently, she was not allowed to take her exams, lost her scholarships, and dropped out of school.
The Kafkaesque icing on the cake: It turns out that her suspicions were entirely correct.
A hidden camera was later found in her bedroom, planted either by her landlord or ex-roommates; after being wrongfully imprisoned, stripped of her scholarships, and forced to leave the school, Eze is now filing a lawsuit against the University. Brooklyn College has no comment on the case.
The Eze debacle has been compared to that of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University. On September 22, 2010, Clementi committed suicide after learning that his sexual encounter with another man was recorded and streamed on the Internet by two fellow students. Inexpensive surveillance equipment, combined with the ease of streaming content, has created an Orwellian environment, albeit one in which private moments are viewed and broadcast not by an overreaching government, but by friends and neighbors. And Chinemerem Eze is a prime example of how, in this day and age, our worst suspicions can be unmistakably true.