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Discrimination leads to heartbreaking tragedy

October 25, 2010

By Ashley Fincher, Staff Writer

According to an Associated Press story edited by CBS, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University jumped off of the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22 after his roommate and another friend secretly recorded him having a sexual encounter with another male and broadcasted it over the internet. The two students that were involved with the recording have been charged with invasion of privacy. The raw emotional distress caused by the two Rutgers students, makes the cruel reality of suicide all too real.

“I don’t want to believe that what happened to students on other campuses could happen here,” said Dr. Lynne Grady, director of counseling and psychological services. “It’s critical that we not remain silent when we witness injustice, and that we truly care about one other.  The CAPS Center is a strong advocate for all our students and available 24/7. If you or anyone you know needs a safe, secure, confidential place to go, make the call.”

Clementi’s death was a tragic and unnecessary event. But, thankfully, we have the power to learn from it. Clementi’s untimely death should serve as a reminder to all of us to respect each other and the differences among us as we all continue our academic journey here at Young Harris College.

“We should all keep in mind that no student should be made to feel unsafe, especially on our campus,” Grady said. “This is a place for intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth that will not be impeded by intolerance, fear or ignorance of any kind regardless of the circumstances.”

Grady also emphasized that it is crucial that we realize harassment and intolerance is not only directed at gay students, but is also aimed at anyone who is perceived as ‘different.’ And, as we remember those we’ve lost, think about those who live with the torment of being bullied and harassed every day. Think about how we contribute to the problem by either participating in the bullying or remaining silent as others are harassed.

Grady suggests that we all challenge ourselves each day to think about our actions, our language and how these affect others. When someone says ‘that’s so gay,’ call them out. But, don’t stop there, when you hear someone say anything racist, sexist or anti-any group, call them out. It is our job to help each other become better people, but in order to do this, we have to talk about it.

The easiest way to become more aware of your own actions is to put yourself in the shoes of those who are ‘different’ from you. Once you are comfortable and secure in yourself, take a stand when you see injustice.

If you are a student that is being bullied or harassed please don’t allow it to continue any longer. Tell a friend or contact the C.AP.S. center for assistance.

Take a stand to stop intolerance. The fight starts here. Life is a terrible thing to waste; so let’s not let what happened at Rutgers happen at YHC.

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