Rutgers University announced today the creation of the Tyler Clementi Center, in honor of the former student who committed suicide during his freshman year in 2010 after his roommate used a webcam to spy on him with another male student.
The center is a collaboration between the university and the Tyler Clementi Foundation designed to address the issues facing vulnerable youth making the transition from home to college.
The center will offer lectures, symposia and training on such topics as the use and misuse of new technologies and social media; youth suicide – particularly among LGBTQ youth and other young people – during the transition to adulthood; adjustment and assimilation into college life; bullying and cyberbullying; and understanding and promoting safe and inclusive social environments.
“This center will embody our shared commitment to breaking new ground to study the rapidly changing world our young adults live in and to lend them support, especially as they transition into adulthood,” the Clementi family said in a statement. “We commend Rutgers for its commitment – unique in higher education – and we are grateful to have the center named in memory of our son.”
“Tyler’s death deeply touched the Rutgers community and brought the issues of cyberbullying and the suicide of gay youth to the attention of the world,” said Richard L. Edwards, Rutgers University executive vice president for academic affairs. “Rutgers has a history of being responsive to the needs of our LGBTQ community, as well as offering forward-thinking scholarly work to impact broader cultural change. It was our sincere wish to work with the Clementi family to turn this tragedy into an effort that would help young people not only at Rutgers but beyond.”
The center also plans to develop new programs and policies to assist first-year students and high school seniors in adjusting to college life that may be used as models for other colleges and universities around the country.