AP100930029580A quiet 18-year-old violinist from New Jersey has apparently killed himself after his Rutgers University roommate, also 18, allegedly live-streamed video of him kissing another man. Now, some outraged Rutgers gay students are lobbying for separate housing facilities for the campus' gay community.
Tyler Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, apparently tweeted on Sept. 19 from his account (which has been deleted, but is cached on Google): "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
Now both Ravi and his friend Molly Wei, 18, are charged with invasion of privacy and could get up to five years in prison, the Associated Press says. Clementi jumped off a bridge Sept. 22, AP reported, and authorities just confirmed Thursday that a body found a day ago is his.
At least one gay rights group is calling Clementi's death a hate crime, AP says, quoting Garden State Equality Chairman Steven Goldstein: "We are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others' lives as a sport."
About a hundred students demonstrated Wednesday night on campus chanting, "We're here, we're queer, we're not going home." Gay students told the school newspaper, the Daily Targum, that they want their own space to live in where they can feel safe and free from bullying.
Coincidentally, the college had launched a two-year project Wednesday to encourage civility in New Jersey and on campus.
Robert O'Brien, an anthropology instructor who helped organize Wednesday's protest, told The Upshot that the university needs to hear out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students' demand for designated gay-friendly spaces in dorms instead of just talking about civility.
"Students are told [by university officials] that all of Rutgers is safe and why would you need a safe place in your dorm?" O'Brien said. "And they're told they don't understand the way the world works. And then they come to my office and they cry and they scream." O'Brien, who didn't know Clementi, said he knew another gay student who committed suicide last year.Read More »from Suicide sparks outrage on Rutgers campus