NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — The sound of silence was resonating across the tri-state area Sunday night in the wake of a college freshman’s suicide.
Hundreds gathered at twin tributes for Rutgers student Tyler Clementi – one in the heart of the university’s campus, and the other in rainy Manhattan.
Emotions ranged from sadness and concern to outrage at candlelight vigil on the Rutgers campus, where attendees made calls for compassion.
For 15 minutes, not one word was spoken at Brower Commons in New Brunswick, where a crowd of several hundred remembered Tyler Clementi.
“It’s just sad someone could be going through so much pain on campus,” Rutgers student Danika Ali said. “Nobody really knew the depth of his sadness.”
The 18-year-old freshman jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge on September 22. His suicide came days after his roommate allegedly streamed video online of him with another man in his dorm room.
Clementi was a gifted violinist described by friends as quiet and kind.
The roommate, Dharun Ravi, and classmate, Molly Wei, are charged with invasion of privacy. More serious bias charges could come later as a debate over bullying rages.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn led a second vigil in a rainy Washington Square Park,
“You send a clear message to those ignorant individuals, who are bullies, that they are not in the mainstream,” Quinn said.
Quinn told a crowd that included Governor David Paterson that now is the time for peace, healing and the pursuit of justice – and that young people in crisis need to know they are not alone.
“Reach out. There are people who can help you,” Rutgers alum Grace Fiorito said. “Do it. It’s worth it.”
As this case continues to put this campus in the national media spotlight, students say they hope they can continue to show this is a tolerant place.
Clementi’s family members, who were not present at the vigils, have requested privacy. Last week, a family statement said the funeral will be private.