This year marks eight years since the tragic death of Tyler Clementi, an American student at Rutgers University. In the wake of his passing, his family founded The Tyler Clementi Foundation to address bullying and homophobia of LGBTQ youth.
On Oct. 10, 2018, Tyler’s mother, Jane Clementi, will speak at the College of Charleston for LGBTQ History Month. Her speech will begin at 6 p.m. in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, room 101. The event will also feature spoken word by CofC student Vanity Reid, a bystander intervention exercise conducted by Student Life and a candlelight vigil led by CofC student Tessa Torgovitsky.
Jane Clementi’s visit to the College is timely as The Tyler Clementi Foundation reports that bullying remains a major public health and safety issue for schools and colleges nationwide. According to the Foundation, students who are bullied are more likely to experience emotional distress resulting in substance abuse, chronic absences and ultimately suicide. Tyler Clementi committed suicide in 2010 following incidents of bullying. The primary path to prevention – according the Foundation – is for schools, parents and communities to take action.
For its part, the College continues to make strides in its efforts to improve the campus climate for its students, faculty and staff. One notable achievement is the creation of the Gender Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC). Hollis France, who serves as GSEC director, says “the Center is committed to institutionalizing practices and policies affirming all gender identities and sexual orientations.”
Ahead of Jane Clementi’s talk, the College will hold a resource fair from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Cistern Yard, which will include free food and the continuation of CofC’s LGBTQ Quilt Project.
Both events are free and open to the public. The events are a collaboration between CofC’s GSEC, the Office of Institutional Diversity, Women’s and Gender Studies, Prism, Multicultural Student Programs and Services/SafeZone, the Office of Sustainability, the Counseling Center and the First Year Experience program.
Tickets for Jane Clementi’s speech can be secured through Eventbrite.