Friday, October 1, 2010

Rutgers Community Mourns Tyler Clementi


It's homecoming weekend for Rutgers University. Graduates from years past will return to The Banks for reunions and activities, and at 2:00 PM tomorrow the 2-1 Scarlet Knights will meet the Tulane Green Wave for a football game at a sold out Rutgers Stadium in what forecasters say will be a glorious October day. Friends will meet, classmates will be reunited, tailgate parties will erupt from the Scarlet Lot to general parking at the RAC.

But this is anything but a typical homecoming at dear old RU.

A young man freshman named Tyler Clementi should have been part of the Homecoming festivities, enjoying what it is to be young and in college. But as to all who have not been living in a cave already know, young Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off  the George Washington Bridge on September 22. His body was recovered yesterday by authorities in New York, and identified.

Tyler Clementi took his own life after a webcam caught him having sex with another man, with the camera allegedly planted by his roommate and aided by another student. And within hours a promising student and musician decided it was all too much and too embarrassing and ended his own life.

And I say damn the shortsightedness of youth.

To the duo who allegedly planted the camera as a prank....did you ever consider the pain this would cause? Even if Tyler had not been driven to suicide, the anguish they caused to another human being, the violation of trust, and the simple lack of common respect of another person's privacy was mindboggling. This was a prank gone awry, one which seemed to come from the keyboard of a playwright or screenwriter, but it wasn't. This was real life, and a genuine tragedy felt not only in this community, but throughout the nation.

And to young Tyler himself, doing the irreversible....my God, did you consider your parents, and those who loved you? You took your life, and you took a big piece of theirs as well. Yes, what happened was painful, but the challenge was to go on and not squander this gift of life.

So sad....so unspeakably tragic.And as I type this, I feel a combination of sadness, anger, and frustration. A young man dead, driven to suicide because he was "different". And I feel the helplessness of the moment in not being to scream to every desperate kid out there that it will get better. The sun really does come up tomorrow, as hackneyed and corny as it sounds. Life is never as good as your best day, nor as bad as your worst.

Below, a few words from Ellen DeGeneres .




Today on campus there were students wearing black in tribute and in solidarity.

Rutgers fans usually wear red to the games. Some students have started a Facebook page encouraging tomorrow's football crowd to wear black to the game.

Tomorrow, I'll alter my usual game day outfit of white hat, red Rutgers tee shirt to a black hat with the red block R and a black Rutgers tee shirt.....but I'll have my red RU hoody handy......it's going to be chilly by the fourth quarter.

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