PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The parents of a U.S. university student whose suicide touched off a national conversation on bullying faced by young gays and lesbians returned to the school on Monday with a message: “The change that you want to see in the world and in your school begins with you.”
Joseph and Jane Clementi attended a symposium at Rutgers University on the benefits and perils of social media for teens and young adults. It was their first time on campus since last year, when 18-year-old freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself days after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man.
Joseph Clementi, with his wife by his side, opened the conference with a two-minute statement.
“The nationwide outpouring of compassion from a wide range of people and organizations has been truly humbling and comforting,” he said.
He said The Tyler Clementi Foundation, a co-sponsor of the symposium along with Rutgers, would do more work to research and try to prevent cyberbullying and victimization based on sexual orientation, looks or other characteristics.
The family has filed legal papers to preserve their right to sue the school, but it has not yet sued and it's not clear whether they will.
The case also is moving through the criminal courts. Tyler Clementi's roommate, 19-year-old Dharun Ravi, is charged with 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and the hate crime invasion of privacy. He could face 10 years in prison. A trial is scheduled for February.