Gwu Student Death

RIP George B. Irish: An homage to a San Antonio publisherOpinion: George Irish, who died at his New Jersey home Tuesday, made a substantial impact on many lives and careers.A student at George Washington University was found dead in her dorm room Tuesday. article A Class of 2022 banner is displayed as students walk on campus at George Washington University in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2022. Not much changes in Fairfax Villa, and residents like it that wayWHERE WE LIVE | The community in Fairfax County, Va., has 422 houses on 166 acres northwest of the George Mason University campus. George Clooney opens new film/TV magnet school in LAThe specialized academy is designed to drive transformational change across the entertainment industry for students from underserved communities. More like help his friends get cushy jobsWASHINGTON – A student at George Washington University was found dead in her dorm room Tuesday, according to police. D.C. police has identified the student as 21-year-old Sarah Levitt, of Scarsdale, NY. Vito Maggiolo, a spokesperson for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said they dispatched responders at 11:36 a.m. to a call reporting a “possible obvious death” inside a building on the 2100 block of F Street.

It’s unclear, at this time, how Levitt died. GW sent a letter to the school community Wednesday notifying students, parents and staff of the tragic death.Here’s What George Clooney Thinks About His Kids Pursuing the ArtsET spoke with Clooney at Roybal School of Film and Television Production, where he shared his thoughts on his twins entering the biz.

Maggiolo said emergency personnel was on scene when FEMS responders arrived. Levitt, officials said, was found in her Guthridge Hall dorm room unconscious and not breathing. She was pronounced dead at 11:53 a.m.
49ers’ George Kittle still not practicing; Trey Lance awoke with ‘sore neck’Here is the latest on the 49ers ahead of Sunday’s home opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

The university said Saturday that the counseling services on the Mount Vernon campus would be extended through the end of the semester, and that it was considering making them available there permanently.Several students said that they knew of no link between the deaths, and that they did not think the university was to blame. In interviews, many said they were aware that counseling and mental health treatments were offered by the university, but some noted that those services were available only at the main campus in Foggy Bottom.

“You tend to see these clusters emerge sometimes,” said Dr. Victor Schwartz of the Jed Foundation, whose aim is to prevent suicides among college students. Dr. Schwartz said college students were more at risk of suicide because they are at the age when psychiatric illnesses often begin to emerge, and must grapple with them during a stressful period when they are away from home.
Students said the university had made an effort to communicate openly after the deaths, while respecting the privacy of the families involved. An email message was sent to students’ parents, and some parents received phone calls from university officials. The messages, however, did not mention the fact that all three students lived in the same dormitory.

West Hall, where the three students lived, is on the university’s Mount Vernon campus, a small collection of buildings nestled in a suburban part of Northwest Washington about three miles from Foggy Bottom, the downtown neighborhood where the majority of George Washington students live and study.
Benjamin Asma Jr., a 19-year-old freshman who was pursuing a major in biomedical engineering, died at a hospital on Wednesday after what was apparently a suicide attempt the day before, according to his father. Lynley Redwood, a 21-year-old senior, was found dead in her room last Tuesday. Her cause of death has not yet been confirmed. Sean Keefer, a 19-year-old freshman in the engineering school, committed suicide in January, according to the medical examiner’s office of the District of Columbia.The awareness of the counseling and mental health treatments provided by the university stems in part from a controversy involving a George Washington student from a decade ago. Between February and September 2004, three students at the university committed suicide. Shortly afterward, Jordan Nott, then a sophomore at the university, expressed concern about thoughts of suicide at a university counseling center. That information was shared with administrators, who decided that Mr. Nott posed a danger to himself and others. He was suspended and barred from the university. Mr. Nott filed a lawsuit, and in 2006 the university reached an out-of-court settlement.Counseling services were made available on the Mount Vernon campus after the deaths last week. “It should have been available on the Vern in the first place,” said Michael Hawthorne, a 19-year-old freshman, using the campus’s nickname. WASHINGTON — Three deaths at a single dormitory this semester, two of them last week, have shaken the campus of George Washington University. The first death has been confirmed as a suicide. One last week is thought to have been a suicide, while the cause of the other is still unknown. In the past 15 years, colleges have significantly increased their counseling and mental health services, Dr. Schwartz said. But students in need are more likely to turn to a friend than to a professional, and as a result, signs of trouble can be missed. “You can have really robust programs, but you can’t control everything that happens,” he said.Candace Smith, a spokeswoman for the university, said in an email, “We regularly review our policies to ensure compliance with applicable laws and to determine if there are opportunities for improvement.” After the death in January, the university’s counseling center said it would look into increased funding and resources for suicide prevention.

The students who live on the Mount Vernon campus, where the dormitories are mostly for freshmen, enjoy a more serene setting, a quieter library, and access to a pool and tennis courts. Most students interviewed referred to the campus, and the community within West Hall, as “close-knit” or “tightknit.” But some said they often felt isolated from the main campus downtown.Because students often share the same self-contained environment, “the ability to connect psychologically or see yourself in the same shoes can also increase risk for suicide contagion,” Dr. Schwartz said. George Washington is not the only school where there have been several student deaths in rapid succession. This year, two students at the University of Pennsylvania committed suicide within weeks of each other. Similar episodes have also occurred in recent years at New York University and Cornell University. The recent deaths were not mentioned during the tour. When told of them by a reporter, both said the deaths would not affect their opinions of the school. Still, Ms. Miller said: “It’s a little scary. It makes me concerned about the stress and social life here.” On Thursday, December 12, 1799, George Washington was out on horseback supervising farming activities from late morning until three in the afternoon. The weather shifted from light snow to hail and then to rain. Upon Washington’s return it was suggested that he change out of his wet riding clothes before dinner. Known for his punctuality, Washington chose to remain in his damp attire. Another conference of physicians occurred. Craik administered an emetic to induce vomiting, though without beneficial results. Despite the care and attention of three physicians, his beloved wife, friends, and enslaved servants, George Washington’s condition worsened. At four-thirty in the afternoon, George called Martha to his bedside and asked that she bring his two wills from the study. After review, Washington discarded one, which Martha burned.The next morning brought three inches of snow and a sore throat. Despite feeling unwell, Washington went to the hanging wood area on the east side of the Mansion after the weather cleared to select trees for removal by enslaved workers. Throughout the day it was observed that Washington’s voice became increasingly more hoarse. Friday evening, as typical for most evenings, Washington read from the newspapers with his secretary Tobias Lear and his wife Martha. Due to the increased throat irritation, Washington asked Lear to complete the reading.After retiring for the night Washington awoke in terrible discomfort at around two in the morning. Martha was concerned about his state and wanted to send for help. However, having just recovered from a cold herself, Washington would not allow his wife to leave the comfort of their room. When Caroline Branham, an enslaved housemaid, came to light the fire at daybreak, Martha sent for Tobias Lear who rushed to the room. There he found Washington in bed having difficulty breathing. Lear sent for George Rawlins, an overseer at Mount Vernon, who at the request of George Washington bled him. Lear also sent to Alexandria for Dr. James Craik, the family doctor and Washington’s trusted friend and physician for forty years.While waiting for Dr. Craik’s arrival, Rawlins extracted a half-pint of blood. Washington favored this treatment—despite Martha’s voiced concern— as he believed that it cured him of past ailments. Washington was also given a mixture of molasses, butter, and vinegar to soothe his throat. This mixture was difficult to swallow causing Washington to convulse and nearly suffocate.

At five in the afternoon, George Washington sat up from bed, dressed, and walked over to his chair. He returned to bed within thirty minutes. Craik went to him and Washington said, “Doctor, I die hard; but I am not afraid to go; I believed from my first attack that I should not survive it; my breath can not last long.” Soon afterward, Washington thanked all three doctors for their service. Craik remained in the room. At eight at night more blisters and cataplasms were applied, this time to Washington’s feet and legs. At ten at night, George Washington spoke, requesting to be “decently buried” and to “not let my body be put into the Vault in less than three days after I am dead.”

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At eleven, Dr. Brown had not yet arrived and Craik sent for a third physician, a definite sign that he felt the ailment was serious. At noon an enema was administered, but there was no improvement in Washington’s condition. Washington was bled for the fourth and final time. It was later reported that a total of thirty-two ounces of blood was extracted during the last bleeding. Knox, J. H. Mason, Jr. “The Medical History of George Washington, His Physicians, Friends and Advisers,” Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine, 1 (1933), 174-91. Between ten and eleven at night on December 14, 1799, George Washington passed away. He was surrounded by people who were close to him including his wife who sat at the foot of the bed, his friends Dr. Craik and Tobias Lear, enslaved housemaids Caroline, Molly, and Charlotte, and his enslaved valet Christopher Sheels who stood in the room throughout the day. According to his wishes, Washington was not buried for three days. During that time his body lay in a mahogany casket in the New Room. On December 18, 1799 a solemn funeral was held at Mount Vernon.George Washington then called for Tobias Lear. He told Lear, “I find I am going, my breath can not last long. I believed from the first that the disorder would prove fatal. Do you arrange and record all my late military letters and papers. Arrange my accounts and settle my books, as you know more about them than any one else, and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters which he has begun.”As the morning progressed Washington did not feel any relief. Martha requested that Tobias Lear send for a second doctor, Dr. Gustavus Brown of Port Tobacco. Brown was a physician that Craik felt had an excellent reputation for diagnosis and moderate medicating. Dr. Craik arrived at nine in the morning, examined Washington, and produced a blister on his throat in an attempt to balance the fluids in Washington’s body. Craik bled Washington a second time and ordered a solution of vinegar and sage tea prepared for gargling.We’ve detected that JavaScript is disabled in this browser. Please enable JavaScript or switch to a supported browser to continue using You can see a list of supported browsers in our Help Center.Deborah Berezdivin, 21, was a rising junior, according to the university’s newspaper, The GW Hatchet. Miami-Dade Police said her body was recovered on July 7.

The group GW for Israel said Berezdivin had transferred to the university “just this past year, yet she leaves a profound impact on our community.” In a post on Instagram, the group remembered her for her “passion for Israel” and “weekly challah baking for GW shabbats.”
“We welcomed Shabbat two weeks ago praying for a miracle. Instead, as the sun goes down tonight, we pray that Deborah’s memory should be for endless blessings,” the university’s Hillel organization posted on Instagram Saturday.“Luke would regularly check in on each individual member of staff when he entered The Hatchet’s 21st Street townhouse,” reads the tribute. “In those many caring interactions, he would always be the first to crack a joke, offer witty insight or check in with his peers and friends. There is not a single staff member whom his warmth did not touch.”Born in Oklahoma City, Luke was raised in Nichols Hills, where he went to Christ the King Catholic and Bishop McGuinness High Schools, his obituary says.Tributes are pouring in after the tragic death of beloved brother and 20-year-old George Washington University senior Robert “Luke” Wienecke on Friday, May 12.

Meanwhile, Luke was a Sports Editor for the GW newspaper and interned at home with OKC Mayor David Holt. He was known for his thirst for knowledge and had a wide range of interests, “even from a young age,” reads his obituary.
Luke was an AP student, serving for two years as Class President and all four years on student council. He also played on the school’s golf team and was known for his charismatic speeches at rallies and events.

Luke went on to attend George Washington University in Washington D.C., where he majored in Political Science and interned with Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole, and for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, his memorial says.Meanwhile, more than $3,700 had been raised on a GoFundMe launched by “The Hatchet” in honor of Luke’s memory. The proceeds will benefit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Oklahoma, Inc. Donations were also being made directly through the organization’s website.

“Luke’s sharp, inquisitive mind coupled with his humorous, sensitive, kind spirit nurtured close friendships with peers, children, and his elders in equal measure,” his memorial says.
Tragically, Luke battled “serious mental illness” and suffered from bipolar disorder, though his family never faltered in providing the utmost support, his obit says.

A post from OKC Mayor David Holt referred to Luke as a “very impressive young man, with intelligence and social skills far beyond his years,” as well as a “future leader:”

“Luke was determined to not let bipolar disorder define him,” reads Luke’s obituary. “Ultimately, the battle came to an end when Luke took his own life.”
Washington planned for a new tomb to be built upon his death, to replace the old family burial vault. His body, along with the bodies of Martha Washington and other family members, was moved to the new tomb in 1831.

The last conversations George Washington had was with his secretary, Tobias Lear, concerned his burial arrangements. “Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead.” Fears of being buried too soon were common in the 18th century. Although Tobias Lear reportedly bowed affirmatively, Washington wanted to be certain: “Do you understand?” Upon received verbal confirmation that his last wishes would be honored, Washington spoke his final words: “Tis well.”
A few months before his death, Washington wrote two wills. Then on the eve of his death, Washington asked his wife to bring him both versions. After reviewing them, Washington had one thrown in the fire.

In his will, George Washington left directions to emancipate all of the enslaved people that he owned after the death of Martha Washington. Of the 317 slaves at Mount Vernon in 1799, 123 individuals were owned by Washington. Martha Washington decided not to wait until her death. She signed a deed of manumission for Washington’s enslaved people and they were freed on January 1, 1801.
On December 12, Washington was out on horseback supervising farm activities and it began to snow. Upon returning home, he did not change out of his wet clothes and went straight to dinner. By the next morning, Washington had a sore throat. His conditioned worsened and late in the evening on December 14, 1799, George Washington died of quinsy.Four ministers spoke at George Washington’s funeral, each with their own connection to Washington. The ministers who spoke at Washington’s funeral were: Reverend Mr. Thomas Davis, Reverend Dr. James Muir, Reverend Mr. William Moffatt (Maffatt), and Reverend Mr. Walter Dulany Addison.

George Washington’s will stated that a new tomb be built to replace the existing tomb at Mount Vernon and that he and Martha Washington be buried within.

Between ten and eleven at night on December 14, 1799, George Washington passed away. He was surrounded by people who were close to him including his wife, Martha Washington, who sat at the foot of the bed, his physician and good friend, Dr. James Craik, and Tobias Lear, his personal secretary.
“He was a good guy, sociable,” freshman Ankur Bhalla said. “You would never expect it. It’s your freshman year in college, you have two weeks left of school.” “Anytime you hear about a freshman or a sophomore that happens to pass away, whether a suicide or accidental death, it’s worrisome,” said Kris Hart, a junior now completing his term as Student Association president. “Whenever you lose somebody and they’re that young, you have a terrible sense of sadness, because you think about what might have been,” Trachtenberg said.

Friends who sat outside the residence hall Sunday evening described Hussain as an energetic member of the student Islamic Alliance for Justice and a supporter of Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. A 19-year-old freshman who plunged from a dormitory balcony over the weekend was the fifth George Washington University student to die in just over four months. University officials said it is not unusual for the bustling urban campus of 20,000 people to lose that many students in a single academic year. Yet this year, said President Stephen J. Trachtenberg, “somehow it seems more intense.” All of the deaths were sudden, most happened in public and all but one involved young undergraduates.

Hasan Hussain, a Jacksonville, Fla., resident described yesterday as friendly and politically active, fell five stories from his Foggy Bottom residence hall on Virginia Avenue NW, across the street from the Watergate complex, about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Though authorities are still investigating, campus police said they believe it was a suicide.
In December, the body of 26-year-old law student Chris Bartok, a California native, was found in the Potomac River, a day after he left a bar where friends were celebrating the end of finals. A week later, 19-year-old freshman Daniel Mendez was killed in a Christmas Eve car crash in his native Panama. A few days ago, his parents visited campus for a memorial tree-planting.D.C. police Lt. Robert Glover said that there were no signs of foul play and that suicide was a possibility but a final determination will be made by the medical examiner.

In February, 19-year-old sophomore Jennifer Dierdorff of Naperville, Ill., was found dead in an Arlington motel room, an apparent suicide, authorities said. And late last month, a 20-year-old sophomore, Philip Augustin of West Orange, N.J., died after unexpectedly jumping into the Tidal Basin during a late-night visit with friends.
Though university officials were quick to reach out with counseling and other assistance, Hart said, students have been moved to take action as well. Within hours of Hussain’s death, students were sending e-mails around campus to try to set up their own support or awareness groups focused on depression and suicide.

Students organized a candlelight vigil for Hussain on Sunday night at the Lincoln Memorial. Last night, about 70 people of all faiths attended a two-hour ceremony that included readings from the Koran and was organized by the Muslim Student Association, student Hashim Qureshi said. Hussain was an active member of the group.Hart noted that GWU is big enough that many students didn’t personally know their deceased classmates. Yet the campus culture is also one of such busy political and social activity that the deaths had an impact beyond the victims’ immediate circle of friends, he said. Meanwhile, friends and university officials continued to grapple with Hussain’s sudden death, which was witnessed by several students. It was unclear how Hussain reached the balcony from which he fell. University officials have locked the sliding glass doors leading to the balconies on the freshman dorm since acquiring the building — a former Howard Johnson’s hotel — several years ago. They said yesterday that Hussain would have had to use a wrench or other tool to gain access. Madonna gave tribute to Clementi by showing a picture of him and other gay teens who have died by suicide during the “Nobody Knows Me” video interlude in the MDNA Tour. Canadian musician Owen Pallett released a song called “The Secret Seven” on his 2014 album In Conflict that addresses Clementi.

On May 6, 2011, Wei entered a plea agreement allowing her to avoid prosecution in exchange for her testimony against Ravi, 300 hours of community service, counseling, and classes on dealing with people of alternative lifestyles.

Ellen DeGeneres described herself as “devastated” by Clementi’s death, stating, “Something must be done. This month alone, there has been a shocking number of news stories about teens who have been teased and bullied and then committed suicide… This needs to be a wake-up call to everyone: teenage bullying and teasing is an epidemic in this country, and the death rate is climbing.”
In February 2016, Ravi asked the courts to overturn his convictions following a 2015 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that struck down as unconstitutionally vague a part of the law under which he was charged. In September 2016, the convictions were overturned by an appeals court in New Jersey, in a decision supported by prosecutors because of the earlier ruling on constitutionality. A request to maintain the convictions for other crimes, such as invasion of privacy and witness tampering, was denied because of the influence bias allegations. Ravi accepted a plea deal on October 27, 2016, and pleaded guilty to one count of attempted invasion of privacy, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to time already served and fines paid, and the remaining charges against him were dropped.Tyler Clementi was born on December 19, 1991, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. A graduate of Ridgewood High School, he was a violinist; he played with the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra and participated in the Bergen Youth Orchestra as concertmaster.In 2011, Tyler Clementi’s parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi, established the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which focuses on promoting acceptance of LGBT teens and others marginalized by society, providing education against all forms of bullying including cyber bullying over the internet and promoting research and development into the causes and prevention of teenage suicide.You’re going to meet a lot of people in your lifetime. Some of these people you may not like. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean you have to work against them. When you see somebody doing something wrong, tell them: “That’s not right. Stop it.” The change you want to see in the world begins with you.

Ravi and Wei were both indicted for their roles in the webcam incidents, though they were not charged with a role in the suicide itself. On May 6, 2011, Wei entered a plea agreement granting her immunity and allowing her to avoid prosecution. Ravi went to trial in early 2012, and was convicted on May 21, 2012, on all charges related to the webcam viewing, with the jury additionally finding that Clementi reasonably believed that Ravi had targeted him for his romantic orientation, thus making Ravi guilty of committing hate crimes against Clementi. After an appeals court overturned parts of the conviction, Ravi pleaded guilty to one count of attempted invasion of privacy on October 27, 2016.
On March 16, 2012, Ravi was convicted on all 15 counts for his role in the webcam spying incidents. On May 21, 2012, Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 3 years’ probation, 300 hours of community service, a $10,000 fine, and counseling on cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles. Both the prosecutors and Ravi filed separate appeals. On June 18, 2012, Ravi was released from jail after 20 days of his sentence. Federal immigration authorities said that Ravi would not be deported to India.

Clementi left a suicide note which, along with documents on his computer, was never released to either the public or to the defense team in Ravi’s trial, because Clementi’s suicide was not directly related to the charges against Ravi.
Rutgers University students planned a “Black Friday” event to commemorate and memorialize Clementi. Rutgers president Richard Levis McCormick stated, “We grieve for him and for his family, friends and classmates as they deal with the tragic loss of a gifted young man….”

Ravi and Wei met while students at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. Prior to arriving at Rutgers, Ravi tried to find information about his new roommate online. On Twitter, Ravi referred to having seen Clementi’s communications on JustUsBoys, a pornographic website and message board for gay men, and tweeted “Found out my roommate is gay”. Clementi also researched his roommate and read postings on Ravi’s Twitter page. After Ravi and Clementi moved in together, they rarely interacted or spoke. Ravi’s text messages to friends described Clementi as shy and awkward. Clementi’s online conversations and text messages referred to his amusement at Ravi’s construction of a private changing area, but Clementi said he appreciated the fact that Ravi left him alone and did not force an excessively social atmosphere.
The incident brought wider nationwide attention to bullying of LGBT youth. “Spirit Day”, first observed on October 20, 2010, was established in which people wear the color purple to show support for bullying victims among LGBT youth. Clementi’s suicide inspired the establishment of Spirit Day, and the day received widespread support from GLAAD, Hollywood celebrities and over 1.6 million Facebook users. The Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights advocacy organization, released a plan aimed at increasing awareness of gay-related suicide and harassment around the U.S. According to gay activist William Dobbs, around 10,000 people expressed support on social networking websites for lodging more serious criminal charges, such as manslaughter, against Ravi and Wei, a position that Dobbs himself criticized as a rush to judgment before an investigation had taken place.

The band Rise Against released a song, “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”, which mentions the names of Tyler Clementi and four other young people who died by suicide in September 2010 after being bullied based on their sexual orientation.
By September 2012, Rutgers had implemented numerous new programs to provide a more supportive environment for LGBT students, in reaction to the suicide, including new dormitory options and a new Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, and students reported a much-improved campus atmosphere.Tyler Clementi (December 19, 1991 – September 22, 2010) was an American student at Rutgers University–New Brunswick who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River on September 22, 2010, at the age of 18. On September 19, 2010, without Clementi’s knowledge, Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, used a webcam on his dorm room computer and his hallmate Molly Wei’s computer to view Clementi kissing another man. Clementi found out after Ravi posted about the webcam incident on Twitter. Two days later, Ravi urged friends and Twitter followers to watch a second encounter between Clementi and his companion, though the viewing never occurred.

The day of the announcement of the verdict in the Dharun Ravi trial, Clementi’s father, Joseph, released a statement, directed particularly at young people:
In this digital world, we need to teach our youngsters that their actions have consequences, that their words have real power to hurt or to help. They must be encouraged to choose to build people up and not tear them down. The same day, Clementi complained to a resident assistant and two other officials that Ravi had used a webcam to stream part of Clementi’s private sexual encounter with another man. The resident assistant testified at trial that Clementi appeared shaky an
d uncomfortable when they met around 11 p.m., and in his official report of the meeting, the resident assistant said that Clementi requested both a room change and punishment for Ravi. In a formal e-mail request to the resident assistant made after the meeting, Clementi described the two viewing incidents, quoted from Ravi’s Twitter postings, and wrote “I feel that my privacy has been violated and I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this wildly inappropriate manner.” Clementi wrote in detail on the JustUsBoys and Yahoo! message boards about complaints he filed through university channels about his roommate. His posts indicated that he did not want to share a room with Ravi after he learned about the first incident and then discovered that Ravi invited his Twitter followers to watch a second sexual encounter. “He [the resident assistant] seemed to take it seriously,” Clementi wrote in a post about 15 hours before his jump from the George Washington Bridge. 
The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to provide a safe environment and equal opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.In the weeks following Clementi’s suicide, schools around the area of his residence held vigils in memory of his death. Students at Hofstra University gathered for a candlelight vigil and a similar vigil at Harvard College drew over sixty college deans, faculty members, and resident tutors. Students and staff at Pascack Hills High School in Bergen County, near Ridgewood where Clementi lived, wore all black to mourn his death.

Beginning in the 2011–2012 school year, a Rutgers University pilot program was instituted to permit students to choose their dorm roommates, regardless of gender. Members of the university’s LGBT community told the administration that gender-neutral housing would help create a more inclusive environment for students.
September 19 and 21, Clementi had asked Ravi for use of their room for those evenings. On the first occasion, Ravi met Clementi’s male companion, and Clementi said that the two wanted to be alone for the evening. Ravi has stated that he was worried about theft and that he left the computer in a state where he could view the webcam stream due to those concerns. Other witnesses testified that Ravi said he also wanted to confirm that Clementi was gay. Ravi and Wei viewed the video stream via iChat for a few seconds, seeing Clementi and his guest kissing. Later, Wei turned on the camera for another view with four others in the room, though Ravi was not there. During this second viewing, Wei and others saw Clementi and his guest kissing, partially disrobed.Shortly after Clementi’s suicide, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network stated, “There has been heightened media attention surrounding the suicides in New Jersey, Texas, California, Indiana, and Minnesota.” The same month Clementi died, four other Americans were reported to have died by suicide after being taunted about their homosexuality.

A few days before leaving home to attend college at Rutgers, Clementi told his parents that he was gay. While his father supported him, Clementi said in an instant message to a friend that his mother had “basically completely rejected” him. In later interviews, Clementi’s mother explained that she had been “sad” and “quiet” as she processed the information and that she “felt a little betrayed” that he had not previously confided in her that he was gay. She later noted that she had not been ready as a parent to publicly acknowledge having a gay son, partly because her evangelical church had taught that homosexuality was a sin. After their conversation, she said that she and Tyler cried, hugged, and said they loved each other. Jane Clementi said that she and Tyler spent the rest of the week together and spoke frequently on the phone when he was at Rutgers. According to his mother, Tyler seemed “confident” and “comfortable” after coming out and told her of having visited New York City with new friends.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated that the suicide was an “unspeakable tragedy… I don’t know how those two [Ravi and Wei] are going to sleep at night” and added, “as the father of a 17-year-old, I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today – I can’t.” In response to Clementi’s suicide and other, similar incidents, New Jersey General Assembly representatives Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Mary Pat Angelini introduced a bipartisan “Anti-bullying Bill of Rights” in November 2010, which passed on a 71–1 vote in the New Jersey Assembly and a 30–0 vote in the New Jersey Senate.On September 28, 2010, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei were each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the September 19 webcam transmission. Ravi was charged with two additional counts for the September 21 viewing attempt. On April 20, 2011, a Middlesex County grand jury indicted Ravi on 15 counts of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with evidence, witness tampering, and hindering apprehension or prosecution. Clementi’s wallet, car, cell phone, and computer were found on or near the bridge. His body was found on September 29, in the Hudson River just north of the bridge. The medical examiner gave drowning as the cause of death, noting blunt impact injuries to the torso as well. On September 20, Clementi, who followed Ravi’s Twitter account, read a message that Ravi sent a few minutes after the webcam viewing the previous day. Ravi wrote: “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.” According to a Rutgers employee, at about 4 a.m. on September 21, Clementi sent an online request for a single room because his “roommate used webcam to spy on me.” Tyler Clementi’s suicide, along with the suicides of several other gay teens who had been harassed, moved President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to express shock and sadness and speak out against any form of bullying. US Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey introduced federal legislation titled the “Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act”, to require schools that wish to receive federal funding to establish anti-bullying procedures and codes of conduct. In the same statement, Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mother, noted the role that electronic media can have in singling out LGBT youth for being different. She said:On March 9, 2011, the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit, announced that it had created the Tyler Clementi Point Scholarship to honor Clementi’s memory. Clementi’s parents said they hoped the scholarship would “raise awareness of young people who are subject to abuse through malicious bullying.”

However, journalist Jason St. Amand has noted that “there are surprisingly several gay activists who are skeptical about the case and believe that Ravi is being used as a scapegoat and should receive a lesser sentence.” William Dobbs has criticized the use of hate crime charges and what he considers to have been a hurried scapegoating of Ravi and Wei. Journalist J. Bryan Lowder has similarly criticized hate-crime laws, arguing that Ravi’s motives are difficult to know, and that Ravi should not be blamed for attitudes that are “pervasive in our culture”. Dan Savage, co-founder of the It Gets Better Project, has written that, although he considers Ravi’s actions to have been “the last straw” that triggered Clementi’s suicide, he notes that Clementi’s guest did not die by suicide, and concludes that there must have been additional factors, preceding the webcam incidents, contributing to the
suicide. Savage says that he deplores the “mob mentality” that focuses on “a couple of stupid teenagers who should’ve known better but didn’t.” He argues that attention should also be directed toward the “adults and institutions” in society who “perpetuate anti-gay prejudice”, and he concludes that to “pin all the blame” on Ravi and Wei amounts to “a coverup”. After Ravi was sentenced, Savage said he had been “express[ing] misgivings about the severity of the sentence that Ravi faced. But a 30 day sentence is far, far too lenient—a slap on the wrist.” Eric Marcus has compared his own father’s suicide with Clementi’s, and said that it will not be possible to know the real reasons for Clementi’s suicide. He concluded that “At best, we can say that Ravi’s spying and subsequent Twitter messages might have triggered Clementi’s suicide, which is different from causing his suicide… We’ve turned Tyler Clementi into a two-dimensional symbol of anti-gay bullying and Dharun Ravi into a scapegoat. This is a case that screams out for compassion and understanding.”
On September 21, Ravi posted text messages saying that there would be a viewing party to watch Clementi and his guest, along with directions on how to view it remotely. At 6:39 p.m., Ravi tweeted, “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.” Ravi had set up the webcam and pointed it towards Clementi’s bed. When Clementi returned to his room, he noticed the camera and texted a friend saying he had unplugged Ravi’s powerstrip to prevent further video streaming during his date. Ravi has said that he had changed his mind regarding the broadcast and disabled the camera himself by putting the computer in sleep mode.Soon after invasion of privacy charges were brought against Ravi and Wei, gay advocacy groups and bloggers were vocal in their support for bringing hate-crime charges against the defendants. After the prosecutors issued a public statement that they were investigating whether bias played a role in the incident, according to Chris Cuomo of ABC News, a “media floodgate of distortion” ensued. Writing in The New Yorker, Ian Parker has stated that some of the media coverage and the public outcry against Ravi have exaggerated Ravi’s role in the incident, writing that after Clementi’s suicide “it became widely understood that a closeted student at Rutgers had committed suicide after video of him having sex with a man was secretly shot and posted online. In fact, there was no posting, no observed sex, and no closet.”

On the evening of September 22, Clementi left the dorm room, bought food from the campus food court, and, around 6:30 p.m., headed toward the George Washington Bridge. By 8:42 p.m., he had posted from his cell phone on Facebook: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”.
In 2015, the Tyler Clementi Foundation launched #Day1, an anti-bullying campaign that aims to stop bullying before it begins, with support from Caitlyn Jenner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Neil Patrick Harris, and others.Erickson said GW students look out for and care for each other, which makes their community more welcoming to students from all over the country. It may take some time to recover from the shock of losing one of their own, but the school’s closeness is poised to help them through this tough time.

Alexander Erickson, a member of GW’s 47-member Student Association Senate, said faculty members should be more proactive in reaching out to students who are falling through the cracks.

“When it comes to suicide prevention, we all play a part in the community,” Erickson-Schroth said in an email to The Wash. “It is our responsibility to be there for each other and for ourselves.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Washington, D.C. has the lowest overall suicide rate among any state in the country, but has still reported 108 suicides among people aged 15 to 24 since 1999, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Hayden Godfrey is a journalist currently pursuing a Master of Arts (MA) in Journalism & Public Affairs at American University. He covers Foggy Bottom and George Washington University for the Wash.While the community hasn’t dealt with the shock of an on-campus student suicide since 2014, the start of the school year brings untold anxiety and pressure, especially for an ambitious and academically strong student body. As a result, there are those who are looking for improvements to the system.

The Wash reached out to six universities in the D.C. area to ascertain the frequency of suicides on their campuses, but did not receive a comment from any of them in time for publication. Following antisemitic outbursts by prominent figures such as Kanye West and NBA star Kyrie Irving, Jewish organizations in and around D.C. are on high alert for anti-Jewish hate crimes. Jodi Frey, a mental health scholar and a professor of social work at the University of Maryland, said that young people contemplating suicide are often aware of the resources available to them, but are unable to access them because of administrative or bureaucratic barriers. Frey describes the American mental health system as “broken” and contends that it is not equipped to handle ongoing, chronic conditions like depression and schizophrenia.“One of the things that institutions can do really well, ironically, is track challenged students because it’s a closed system,” Molock, a 25-year faculty member, said. “Often we forget the most vulnerable students are not gonna have the most adaptive coping skills,” she added.