NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS 2) — Homecoming festivities at Rutgers University this weekend are taking place under a dark cloud. Students are mourning the freshman who killed himself after his private life was made very public over the internet.
It was supposed to be an evening for the young violinist to showcase his talent, but instead of Tyler Clementi’s first performance with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, there was a special tribute in his memory.
Earlier in the day, at the Rutgers homecoming game, football fans observed a solemn tribute for Clementi as well. Among them was friend and fellow freshman Carass Javiniar.
“I thought it was a special moment,” Javiniar said. “We can all come together and celebrate his life.”
She said just last week, she and Clementi worked on a class project together.
“He was very shy. I had to ask, ‘Tyler, what do you think?’ He was quiet,” Javiniar said.
Clementi killed himself after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and fellow student Molly Wei allegedly streamed video on the web of him having a sexual encounter with another man.
“From what I understand, I think it is absolutely a hate crime,” student Michelle Yampolsky said. “These students picked on him because of his sexuality.”
Clementi had alerted school officials to the alleged invasion of privacy, though it’s unclear how the administrators handled the complaint.
Now, students are left to cope with his death.
“Everybody’s a community here, and one goes down, we all go down, so it’s painful,” sophomore Phil Berman said.
A candlelight vigil is planned for Sunday night, and gay rights groups are organizing two town hall meetings next week.