JU Students Respond to Tyler Clementi’s Suicide

Misha Khan

Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sep. 22. Clementi allegedly jumped off the bridge after discovering his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and a friend, Molly Wei, live- streamed a video onto the Internet of a sexual encounter between Clementi and another man.

According to local authorities, Clementi’s car, cell phone and laptop were found along with his wallet on a walkway on the bridge. He did not leave a note on the scene but left a final goodbye on Facebook that read, “jumping off the gw bridge, sorry.”

The first incident took place on Sep. 19 when Clementi asked Ravi to leave the room for a few hours. Ravi logged onto his twitter account to post, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

He did it again on Sep. 21, the next day Clementi was dead.

Gregory Blimling, Rutgers University vice president for student affairs, told ABC’s Good Morning America that Ravi’s alleged actions were prohibited under university rules, and that the school had turned the case over to local authorities.

Ravi and Wei have been charged with two counts of privacy invasion and, if convicted under the third degree of distributing and transmitting the images, they can each face up to five years in prison.

Students at Jacksonville University had much to say about the tragedy.  Freshman Amarillys Pizarro said, “People should not get into other people’s lives.  If he was not open about it you should not be tweeting about it.”

Another student, Brianna Williams, sophomore, said, “Our generation uses the Internet too much and there should be more censorship.  There seems to be no boundaries and I feel sorry for Tyler because it is unfortunate how his private life was displayed.”

Clementi’s death has raised issues across the country about cyber bullying and what can be done to prevent it from going too far.

Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said in a statement, “…We are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others’ lives as a sport.” He also considers the suicide a hate crime. When asked to respond to this, several students agreed and felt that the situation would have been different if Clementi had been straight.

Freshman Spencer Jack said, “It would have been different with a woman. I think society still doesn’t fully accept that side of a person yet. It could have been the pressure of just having it out in the open that got to him. I do not think the two students should be tried but they should be kicked out of school.”

Another JU student, sophomore Dee Graham said, “He should have just come out.”

Clementi’s body has not yet been recovered but the police did pull out the remains of an unidentified male in the Hudson River just north of the bridge. The Clementi family lawyer, Paul Mainardi, released statement confirming the suicide saying, “Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words. They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all.”