PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The parents of Tyler Clementi visited the Rutgers University campus Monday for the first time since their son’s suicide last September.
Their son, an 18-year-old freshman, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man.
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The Clementis announced the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a not-for-profit organization designed to empower those who are tormented because of the way they look, their sexual orientation, or just for being different, CBS 2’s Jay Dow reported.
“As any parent who has lost a child can tell you, this past year has been the most difficult of our lives,” Joseph Clementi said at the beginning of a daylong symposium on the use and misuse of social networks and new media.
Clementi said the outpouring of compassion from people and organizations has been “humbling and comforting.” “The change that you want to see in the world and in your school begins with you,” Joseph and his wife Jane Clementi added.
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The Clementis co-sponsored the event, aimed at researching and preventing cyberbullying.
Joseph Clementi says his family is on a mission to not only raise awareness of cyber-bullying, but to encourage students to be more responsible in their personal and digital lives, Dow reported.
“With freedom, which is very important, comes responsibility, and I think we often lose sight of the importance of the way our actions reverberate and affect other people,” said Dr. James Katz, a keynote speaker at today’s symposium.
The Clementis filed notice last December preserving their right to sue the school. A lawsuit has yet to be filed and it is unclear whether they will.
His trial is set for February.
In March, Rutgers decided to allow men and women to be roommates at three dorms – largely as a way of becoming more welcoming to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered students.
New Jersey also passed a tougher anti-bullying law to protect students from bullies.
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