Administrators and student leaders of Rutgers University of New Brunswick, NJ, joined with the Clementi family, representatives of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and elected officials to establish the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers.
The center is a collaborative effort between Rutgers and the Tyler Clementi Foundation. It draws from academic disciplines across the university and throughout the nation to create new programs and approaches to address issues that confront young people – specifically vulnerable youth making the transition from home to college.
“This center will embody our shared commitment to breaking new ground to study the rapidly changing world our young adults live in,” the Clementi family said when the Center was announced, “in order to lend support, especially as they transition into adulthood. We commend Rutgers for its commitment – unique in higher education – and we are grateful to have the center named in memory of our son.
“Tyler’s death deeply touched the Rutgers community and brought the issues of cyber-bullying and the suicide of gay youth to the attention of the world,” said Richard L. Edwards, Rutgers University executive vice president for academic affairs. “Rutgers has a history of being responsive to the needs of our LGBTQ community, as well as offering forward-thinking scholarly work to impact broader cultural change. It was our sincere wish to work with the Clementi family to turn this tragedy into an effort that would help young people not only at Rutgers but beyond.”
The center offers lectures, symposia and training on such topics as the use and misuse of new technologies and social media; youth suicide – particularly among LGBTQ youth and other young people – during the transition to adulthood; adjustment and assimilation into college life; bullying and cyberbullying; and understanding and promoting safe and inclusive social environments.
Under the leadership of Jeff Longhofer, Rutgers associate professor of social work, the goal of the Tyler Clementi Center is to provide scholarly support for the work of policymakers, social activists, community leaders and other advocates for vulnerable youth.
The center also aims to develop new programs and policies to assist first-year students and high school seniors in adjusting to college life that may be used as models for institutions of higher education throughout the country.