Respect and Tolerance

Matt DiGiovanni

By now I’m sure you have all heard about Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide on September 22. For those of you who don’t know the details, Tyler asked his roommate, Dharun Ravi, for the room until midnight. While in his friend, Molly Wei’s room, Ravi accessed his webcam, which revealed Clementi and another man. During this encounter, Ravi tweeted, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with another dude. Yay.” Two days later, Ravi tweeted an invitation to view Clementi via webcam again. The next day, Clementi posted on his Facebook page, “Going to jump off the gw bridge sorry.”

I think the most troubling part of this story is the fact that it was entirely avoidable. Had Tyler’s privacy not been violated, he would not have jumped. This brings me to my first point; always think before you act. If Ravi had thought about what he was about to do when he broadcast the video feed, and had it crossed his mind that it would result in Clementi’s death, I would like to believe that he would not have followed through. Another issue that plays a part in this story is the blatant stupidity behind it all. The entire situation was probably a joke to Ravi and Wei until they found out that Tyler had committed suicide.

Harassment and bullying has become an issue recently, with the list of dead teens growing every day. Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old Indiana high school student was found dead September 7, a thirteen-year-old Houston student shot himself on September 21, on September 26, 13-year-old Seth Walsh hanged himself from a tree in the backyard of his California home, and, even more recently, 19-year-old Johnson & Wales University student Raymond Chase, hanged himself in his Providence, R.I., dorm room on September 29. Action is obviously needed to prevent the past from repeating itself.

Everyone needs to understand that their actions have consequences, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. Either way, everyone should think about what results their actions will have on those around them. Would you want to be responsible for the loss of another life?