PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The parents of a Rutgers University student who committed suicide last year returned to the school November 14 for an academic symposium on the benefits and perils of social media for teens and young adults.
It was the first time Joseph and Jane Clementi visited Rutgers’ main campus in New Jersey since last year when their son, 18-year-old freshman Tyler Clementi, killed himself days after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man. The tragedy touched off a national conversation on the bullying often faced by young gays and lesbians.
Joseph Clementi, with his wife standing by his side, opened the conference with a two-minute statement. He identified himself and his wife as the “proud parents of Tyler Clementi.
“The nationwide outpouring of compassion from a wide range of people and organizations has been truly humbling and comforting,” he said.
The case is also moving through the criminal courts.
Tyler Clementi’s roommate, 19-year-old Dharun Ravi, is charged with 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and the hate crime invasion of privacy. He could face 10 years in prison. A trial is scheduled for February. —Geoff Mulvihill, AP