Timeline of Tyler Clementi’s Last Days
Sept. 1: Fall semester begins at Rutgers. Dharun Ravi and Tyler Clementi are roommates in Davidson dormitory on Busch Campus.
Sept. 19: Twitter feed from Ravi: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with another dude. Yay.”
Sept. 21: Twitter feed from Ravi: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”
Sept. 22, around 8 p.m.: Friends say Clementi sends a Facebook update: “Going to jump off the GW Bridge. Sorry.”
Later that hour, Clementi commits suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge, authorities and the family’s attorney said.
Sept. 27: Molly W. Wei, charged with invasion of privacy, surrenders to authorities.
Sept. 28: Ravi, also charged with invasion of privacy, surrenders to authorities.
Tyler Clementi’s family released the following statement Sept. 29:
|On behalf of the family of Tyler Clementi, I can confirm that Tyler committed suicide last week by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. His body has not been recovered.|
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.
The family and their representatives are cooperating fully with the ongoing criminal investigations of two Rutgers University students. They will have no further comment at this time.
Paul Mainardi, Esquire
Facebook tribute page: In honor of Tyler Clementi
Rutgers University President Richard McCormick released a statement regarding the suicide of freshman Tyler Clementi, and the charges against his classmates, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.
Members of the Rutgers Community:
I deeply regret that today we learned from the family of one of our students that they believe their son has committed suicide. We are profoundly saddened by this report, and our hearts and prayers are with the parents, family, and friends of this young man, who had started at Rutgers this semester as a first-year student on the New Brunswick campus.
While there is a lot of information being communicated, we don’t have all the facts in this case.
This young man was reportedly the victim of an incident that took place in one of our residence halls last week.
Two fellow Rutgers students have been arrested and charged with invasion of privacy for their actions in that incident. If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.
The case is being investigated by the Rutgers University Police Department. The students—like all who are accused of a crime—must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case is also being investigated by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the code of student conduct. Please know that while Rutgers does not comment publicly on the specifics of cases involving active criminal investigations and allegations of student conduct, the university is taking this case very seriously.
We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family during this most difficult time. While I did not have the privilege of knowing this young man, I have learned that in addition to his academic abilities, he was a gifted musician. Our university community feels the pain of his loss, and I know there is anger and outrage about these events.
Rutgers is a community that is extraordinarily proud of its diversity and the respect its members have for one another. In fact, we have just launched a two-year dialogue focusing attention on civility in the context of one of the most culturally and racially diverse research universities in the nation. I ask that all members of the Rutgers community honor the wishes of the family by providing them with privacy during this painful time and by committing to the values of civility, dignity, compassion, and respect for each other.
Richard L. McCormick
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)– The death of a Rutgers University freshman stirred outrage and remorse on campus from classmates who wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge last week after a recording of him having a sexual encounter with a man was broadcast online.
“Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened,” said Lauren Felton, 21, of Warren. “He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.”
Gay rights groups say Tyler Clementi’s suicide makes him a national example of a problem they are increasingly working to combat: young people who kill themselves after being tormented over their sexuality.
A lawyer for Clementi’s family confirmed Wednesday that he had jumped off the George Washington Bridge last week. Police recovered a man’s body Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River just north of the bridge, and authorities were trying to determine if it was Clementi’s.
The lawyer has not responded to requests for comment on whether Clementi was open about his sexual orientation.
Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, and fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei, both 18, have been charged with invading Clementi’s privacy. Middlesex County prosecutors say the pair used a webcam to surreptitiously transmit a live image of Clementi having sex on Sept. 19 and that Ravi tried to webcast a second encounter on Sept. 21, the day before Clementi’s suicide.
A lawyer for Ravi, of Plainsboro, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. It was unclear whether Wei, of Princeton, had retained a lawyer.
Collecting or viewing sexual images without consent is a fourth-degree crime. Transmitting them is a third-degree crime with a maximum prison term of five years.
ABC News and The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Clementi left on his Facebook page on Sept. 22 a note that read: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” On Wednesday, his Facebook page was accessible only to friends.
Even if the young violinist from Ridgewood was not well known at his new school, his death stirred outrage.
“The notion that video of Tyler doing what he was doing can be considered a spectacle is just heinous,” said Jordan Gochman, 19, of Jackson, who didn’t know Clementi. “It’s intolerant, it’s upsetting, it makes it seem that being gay is something that is wrong and can be considered laughable.”
Other students who did know Clementi were upset that they didn’t do more to help him. “I wish I could have been more of an ally,” said Georges Richa, a freshman from New Brunswick.
About 100 people gathered Wednesday night for a vigil on campus. They lay on the ground and chanted slogans like, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going home.”
Several gay rights groups linked Clementi’s death to the troubling phenomenon of young people committing suicide after being harassed over their sexuality.
On Tuesday, a 13-year-old California boy died nine days after classmates found him hanging from a tree. Authorities say other teens had taunted the boy, Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, for being gay.
Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said in a statement that his group considers Clementi’s death a hate crime.
“We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind,” Goldstein said. “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.”
Last week, Dan Savage, a columnist at the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger, launched the latest of several efforts to try to stem the problem: the It Gets Better Project, a YouTube channel where gay, lesbian and bisexual adults share the turmoil they experienced when they were younger – and that their lives are better now.
In response to Clementi’s death and other incidents, the group Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays said it would issue a “call to action” on the subject on Thursday.
Rutgers University President Richard McCormick wrote in a letter to the campus, “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.” Coincidentally, the university on Wednesday was launching a new two-year Project Civility, designed to get students thinking about how they treat others.
Meanwhile, for some of Clementi’s new classmates, the first time they learned much about him was when they got word of his death.
“I guess the only person I haven’t talked to is Tyler ’cause he’s like really quiet and shy,” said Justin Lee, a freshman from Princeton who lives on Clementi’s hall.
DeFalco reported from Ridgewood. Associated Press writers Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, Colleen Long in New York and David Porter in Newark contributed to this report.
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