Tyler Clementi was a smart, talented and creative young man. He had a kind heart and bright spirit, and was deeply loved by his family and friends. He grew up with a passion for music and was an accomplished violinist. Tyler began playing the violin in the third grade. Tyler was also an enthusiastic bicyclist and unicyclist. He taught himself to play the violin while unicycling. He performed in numerous orchestras and was awarded with several accolades for his musical contributions.
Tyler was gay, and had just begun sharing this part of himself with the people he was close to during the summer after his high school graduation. This was a difficult time for him, but he was brave and honest about who he was. After graduating high school, Tyler attended Rutgers University where he was excited to learn, grow and have the freedom to live openly as a gay man. As an incoming freshman he began playing violin at the institution’s high level orchestra. Only a few weeks into his first semester, Tyler’s musical gifts earned him a seat in an orchestra comprised primarily of upperclassmen and graduate students.
At college Tyler became a victim of cyber-bullying. His privacy was invaded when his college roommate set up a webcam to spy on him. The roommate viewed him in an intimate act, and invited others to view this online. Tyler discovered what his abuser had done and that he was planning a second attempt. Viewing his roommate’s Twitter feed, Tyler learned he had widely become a topic of ridicule in his new social environment. He ended his life several days later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Tyler was eighteen years old.