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Restoring the Reputation of Rutgers

For the record, my comments do not represent my university, employers, or anything in between. (Enter legal jargon here about why my freedom of speech is restricted by my associations in my environment, blah blah blah.)

First, I wanted to share with you a photo one of my residents took last year at the Rutgers Reacts: Uniting for Peace, Healing, and Social Justice  event I helped organize following the untimely death of Tyler Clementi.

As you can see, hundreds upon hundreds of students, alumni, and people in the surrounding area came out to support the Rutgers community in our need for healing and peace.

In the past year and a half, Rutgers University has been depicted by the media as a hateful, bullying place. This is NOT the Rutgers I know.

Even before Tyler Clementi’s death, I have been fortunate enough to have been embraced by the LGBTQQIA community at Rutgers. I’ve found countless friends, support systems, clubs, organizations, events, and communities that allowed me to grow, develop, and be okay with my sexuality. Rutgers and its various communities have embraced me for who I am, and never once have I been told that I cannot achieve something because I am a lesbian woman. Instead, I have learned that I can accomplish almost anything if I set my mind to it. Finding a community to call my own at Rutgers has helped me become confident, and to find the strength to stand up for what I believe in.

What does the media think Rutgers stands for?

Bullying.

Bigotry.

Stupidity.

Lack of support.

NONE of these things apply to the Rutgers I know.

Now that the Dharun Ravi trial has come to a close, I hope that the media vultures will leave my university alone.

Since the Tyler Clementi incident took place, this is what the media HASN’T been telling you:

  • They have been stalking LGBTQQIA organization leaders through facebook, twitter, and other social media formats.
  • They have tracked down cell phone numbers of said student leaders, some of whom who are not out to their families, and harassed them, asking for interviews.
  • They have camped out outside of residence halls that have NOTHING to do with the case. (i.e. my residence hall, which is a centralized location of the main campus, NOT the campus Tyler Clementi & Dharun Ravi roomed together on) The following is a photo taken from  my residence hall of the 3 news vans that surrounded our building in the minutes following the verdict.
  •  They have regularly misquoted students and their views.
  • They have “forgotten” to highlight the amazing things the LGBTQQIA community at Rutgers has done, and instead they have focused on the negative.

Rutgers is an AMAZING place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersexed, and ally students. I am proud to attend such an amazing university, and I hope that in the weeks, months, and years to come the rest of the nation and the world will be able to see how phenomenal the school I have spent the past four years at is.

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