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Wednesday April 23, 2014

The Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers University

Fact Sheet
Monday February 4, 2013

The Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers University

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On Feb. 4, 2013, Rutgers University and the
Tyler Clementi Foundation announced the creation of the Tyler Clementi Center
at Rutgers. 

The tragic death of 18-year-old Rutgers student
Tyler Clementi on Sept. 22, 2010, deeply affected the university community and
drew international attention to the issues of privacy, cyberbullying and gay
youth suicide.

In 2011, the Clementi family established the
Tyler Clementi Foundation to honor Tyler’s memory. Three core strategies guide its
advocacy, partnerships and outreach:

  • Promote accepting social environments at school,
    at home, in church and online
  • Turn Bystanders into Upstanders to prevent
  • Build an infrastructure of support for LGBT and
    vulnerable youth and their families

The interdisciplinary Tyler Clementi Center will
draw upon existing faculty, staff and resources across Rutgers (including the
School of Social Work, the Graduate School of Applied and Professional
Psychology, the School of Communication and Information, the Graduate School of
Education and the School of Arts and Sciences) and throughout the United States
to conduct new research and develop programs and approaches to address issues
that confront young people as they transition from home to college life.
The center will offer such academic events as
lectures, symposia and seminars on topics including:

  • Decision making in the use and misuse of new
    technologies and social media
  • Youth suicide – particularly among LGBTQ youth
    and other young people – during the transition to adulthood
  • Transitions and adjustment to college life
  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Understanding and promoting safe and inclusive
    social environments
The center aims to create innovative and
effective programs and practices that may be models for other colleges and
universities to assist first-year students and high school seniors in adjusting
to college life.

The center will provide scholarly support for
the work of policymakers, social activists, community leaders and other
advocates for vulnerable youth.

Rutgers and the Clementi family have worked
together in the past:

  • In April 2011, the Clementis attended and spoke
    at an event at Rutgers-Camden. A Wiffle ball tournament was organized by
    students and held in memory of Tyler to call attention to anti-bullying
  • In October 2011, Rutgers, with the agreement of
    the Clementi family, served as the venue for an Anderson Cooper 360° town hall meeting on the topic of bullying.
    The program (“Bullying: It Stops Here”) won an Emmy Award for Outstanding News
    Discussion and Analysis. 
  • In November 2011, Rutgers and the Tyler Clementi
    Foundation co-sponsored a symposium on the use and misuse of social networks.
    Scholars and researchers explored and discussed the impact of new digital media
    on the psychology and sociology of adolescents and young adults.

The director of the Tyler Clementi Center is
Jeffrey Longhofer, Ph.D., LCSW and an associate professor of social work at
Rutgers University. He is a clinical social worker and applied anthropologist
whose research focuses on health and mental health practice, the cross-cultural
study of mental illness, mental health case management, and the roles stigma
and shame play in the social and psychological dynamics of practitioner/patient
interactions. Dr. Longhofer conducts research on anti-LGBT social movements. He
has served as journal editor and on editorial boards for the Society for
Applied Anthropology, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the American
Anthropological Association. He has written two books: On Having and Being a
Case Manager: A Relational Method for Recovery
(Columbia University Press, 2010) and Qualitative Methods
for Practice
(Oxford, 2013).

The co-director of the center is Susan Furrer,
Psy.D. She is the executive director of the Center for Applied Psychology, a
division of the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
(GSAPP). The Center for Applied Psychology provides a range of training,
consultation and intervention activities which incorporate training for
graduate students in psychology. Dr. Furrer earned her doctoral degree in
clinical psychology in 1990 from GSAPP at Rutgers University. She has extensive
administrative experience with clinical, training and technical assistance
efforts. She has also directed a variety of research and program evaluation
projects focused on violence prevention. Her clinical interests are in the
treatment of children and adults with trauma.

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