Rutgers campus is reacting today to the sad and outraging story of Tyler Clementi, the freshman who ended his life after his roommate invaded his privacy and live streamed a video of him physically engaging with another male student.
Gay rights groups and LGBT students are viewing the death as a hate crime. It’s timing comes, ironically, as the university embarked on a new two-year Project Civility, designed to get students thinking about how they treat others.
“Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened,” one student told the AP. “He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.”
Another student, Jordan Gochman stated “It’s intolerant, it’s upsetting, it makes it seem that being gay is something that is wrong and can be considered laughable.”
Yesterday night, 100 people gathered for an on-campus vigil chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going home.”
“We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind,” Steven Goldstein, a chairmen of gay rights group Garden State Equality, said in a statement. “And 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.”
Rutgers University President Richard McCormick has responded to the tragedy by saying “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.”
Dhraun Ravi, the roommate and his friend Molly Wei, both 18, have been charged with invading Tyler’s privacy and could serve a maximum prison term of five years.