The recent suicide of Rutgers University first-year Tyler Clementi has shocked college campuses across the United States. Clementi jumped from a bridge after being outed as gay by classmates via an online webcast. Sadly, Clementi’s is one of several suicides that have occurred recently a result of bullying due to sexuality.
In the wake of this tragedy, HWS students and faculty have been responding to issues of homophobia, sexuality, and bullying through classroom discussion and public forums, seeking to create awareness for this serious problem and hoping to initiate vital change. The HWS Pride Alliance and the Center of Intercultural Affairs are working together to hold a Candlelight Vigil on the steps of Scandling Center at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“The vigil is being held in light of the recent LGBT suicides,” says Constance Mandeville ’12 of the HWS Pride Alliance. “Most of these tragic deaths have been high school students, but the death of Tyler Clementi has really shocked us all.”
“We want to show support for these students, and to combat homophobia,” explains Mandeville. “As a campus, we need to work to prevent this from happening at our school – or any school.”
The organizers of the vigil hope to see students, faculty and staff as well. All will be invited to speak and share with others their concerns or their personal experiences. An open mic session will follow the vigil for those who would like to express themselves through the performing arts.
“We hope to have the support of the campus,” says Mandeville. “It’s an incredibly sad story, and the campus needs to react.”