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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Editorial: Be there for each other

<ast several days, the media has been dominated by coverage of the cyberbullying-related suicide. Ellen Degeneres’ plea, “I can’t stay silent about this,” has been circulating the Internet rapidly, and people are reacting. The case of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his roommate posted footage of Clementi’s same-sex dorm room intimacy on the Internet, is headed to trial. The two students who are responsible for the video hitting the web are potentially being charged with hate crimes and cybersnooping, and may face up to five years in prison. It is tragic that this occurred at all, much less on a college campus. Yet what was even more devastating to read about was the aftermath at Rutgers.

Grief counselors arrived at Clementi’s former dorm to talk with students about the tragedy. In a dorm of fifty, three students knew who Clementi was. Three.

That Clementi’s peers invaded his privacy is one thing. But virtually no one in his freshmen community at Rutgers knew who he was. At Carleton, we may blow this incident off as a tragedy that would never happen on our campus. We’re a smaller, closer knit community than Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean students, especially freshmen, can’t fall through the cracks. Sure, we have RAs and New Student Week groups, but those only stay relevant and help students for so long. At this point in the year, freshmen have discovered their friends and found groups where they belong. But that doesn’t mean there might be some freshmen or upperclassmen who feel the pressures about who they are or where they belong in the world.

This is all we ask of you. Learn from Rutgers and Tyler Clementi. Not just about hate crimes and privacy invasions, but about the importance of knowing each other, and being there for your fellow classmates and peers. Say hi to people that you normally only make awkward eye contact with. Get to know that kid you say hi to. Some of the most interesting people that you will remember from Carleton are those you probably haven’t met yet. Go meet them. You will be surprised with what you find in your new friends. And of course, be there for the ones you’ve always known, be there in times when they need you and they will be there in times when you need them.

-The editorial represents the views of The Carletonian editors.

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