NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) – Rutgers University has dedicated a new center named after a student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to see him having an intimate encounter with another man.
The Tyler Clementi Center aims to develop new programs and policies to help students adjust to college life.
It will also offer lectures, symposia and training on several topics including the use and misuse of new technologies and social media; youth suicide during the transition to adulthood; adjustment and assimilation into college life; bullying and cyberbullying; and understanding and promoting safe and inclusive social environments, according to a press release.
“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.
At the unveiling of the center, Clementi’s parents said they want their son’s experience to help others.
“It’s not without the sadness of not having Tyler here. We miss him every day,” Tyler’s father Joe told reporters including WCBS 880′s Jim Smith. “Through our work together, we can create a new legacy around Tyler’s name.”
The center is a collaboration with the Tyler Clementi Foundation which was launched by the student’s parents.
“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. “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.”
Tyler’s mother Jane said her son may have benefited from this kind of center and chosen a different outcome.
“Even if it can make a change in just one person’s life, that would be successful,” she said.
Clementi, 18, killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, just weeks into his first year at Rutgers.
Dharun Ravi served less than a month in jail after he was convicted last year of 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, for using a webcam to watch Clementi have an intimate encounter with another man. He is appealing his conviction.