Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rest in Peace, Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi. Had I heard his name before yesterday, I would not have a clue who he was. I did not know him at all. We shared no mutual friends or acquaintances. He is not from my hometown or my college and our paths might have never crossed. Yet, my heart is heavy and filled with sadness because he is no longer with us. The suicide of Tyler Clementi has been on my mind since before his identity was even revealed. I stumbled upon an article yesterday morning that was shocking and disturbing- an 18-year-old student at Rutgers committed suicide last week after footage of his sexual relations with another male were broadcast live via webchat (some reports say iChat, others Skype). His roommate, Dharun Rhavi and a friend, Molly Wei, decided that it would be entertaining to leave Dharun's webcam running while Tyler had a guest over. What's worse is that this invasion of privacy had been announced via Twitter, as well. Just three days after this encounter was broadcast, Clementi left a chilling suicide "note" on his Facebook status that read, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry" and his car, wallet with identification, cell phone, and computer were later found near the bridge. Authorities today are trying to determine whether a body they found in the Hudson River this morning is that of Tyler Clementi.

The fact that something like this could happen is unreal to me. Why would this guy think that it was entertaining, funny, or even appropriate to broadcast someone else's sexual encounters? It is unknown whether or not his friends, classmates, or his neighbors in the residence hall knew of his sexuality or whether or not he even identified as gay. In any event, invading someone's privacy on such a personal level and publicizing it is something that should NEVER happen. And "outing" someone can be particularly hurtful. Whether or not Clementi was open about his sexuality is not the issue here; the issue is our privacy. Although we are living in a world where, thanks to technology, there are very few things about our lives that can be kept completely private, the use of social networking sites and the various chat programs can do irreparable damage to us. That is why I encourage all of you to respect one another and respect yourselves and think for a second before we act, especially when it comes to making something public. Facebook, Twitter, iChat, Skype and similar programs can be great tools to keep in touch with friends, network, and the like, but they can also be extremely harmful.

Rest in the sweetest peace, Tyler. Your death is a great tragedy but hopefully we can learn from this and prevent similar things from happening to others. Justice will be served in your honor.

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