In Remembrance: CAS Senior Wyatt Tyler
March 28, 2017
CAS senior Wyatt Tyler’s family reported that he passed away on Saturday evening. The 21-year-old born on May 6, 1995 was the only child of Suzanne deBoisblanc Tyler and Tom Tyler, and he is survived by family members and a large array of friends — people of his close network said Wyatt’s extraverted personality helped him form many relationships.
Tyler’s best friend from high school Jack McShane said that even though Tyler was not religious, his mass at the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village was attended by hundreds of people, and the church was at capacity. McShane, a 2016 NYU graduate, said the official ceremony will be this weekend and called the three days since Wyatt’s death tiring.
“He had so many friends, and he was always with friends — he could make friends so easily,” McShane said. “There were just so many people I didn’t even know who would come up to me and talk about how he randomly created this random friendship on the side with them. He spent all his time with other people.”
And that is what he was doing right before his untimely death. deBoisblanc Tyler said that Wyatt was celebrating his impending graduation with some friends who lived in the apartment complex across the street from his own. She said that the detective told her there was a fair amount of alcohol at the event, though she said the amount of alcohol present was nothing unexpected from a college student.
“There was a bed pushed against the wall, and they were all sitting on the bed by the windowsill,” deBoisblanc Tyler said. “He leaned back on the windowsill, and it gave way — the screen in the window gave way, and he fell backwards.”
She said that Wyatt’s father, who lives in Jamaica, discussed possible litigation with her, but they decided to not create a further issue for Wyatt’s friends or their landlord. deBoisblanc Tyler said that people at Wyatt’s age usually do not undergo this kind of stress and that even adults do not. She further said that students at Wyatt’s age do not possess the same resilience as adults have in times like these.
“To continue this saga would be painful for all of us,” deBoisblanc Tyler said. “It [litigating] is not going to bring our son back.”
NYU Spokesperson Matt Nagel said the university has made counselors available to those affected.
“NYU is saddened to learn of the death of Wyatt Tyler who passed away this past weekend after a tragic accident,” Nagel said. “Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time.”
Wyatt’s Expressive Culture professor Dana Polan reached out to his students with the Wellness Exchange’s telephone number as he announced Wyatt’s passing in an email subjected “Very sad news about Wyatt Tyler, a student in our Howard Hawks course.” Although Polan’s lecture, which focuses on works by the director Hawks, has over 100 students, it is also split into recitations of about 15 to 20 students.
“With profound sadness, I am writing to inform you of the death over the weekend of Wyatt Tyler, a student from our Howard Hawks class,” Polan’s email said. “There are no words adequate to such a loss of life. This may no doubt be a difficult moment for some of you.”
And at the close of his email, Polan apologized for being the bearer of such terrible news.
McShane is presently in Louisiana, helping with the various arrangements to commemorate Wyatt’s life — one that he described as imbued with people, advocacy and environment. Wyatt was an environmental activist, and McShane said that Wyatt was always surrounded by water, wherever he was: Miami, his birthplace; New Orleans, where he grew up; Jamaica, his father’s home country; or New York City, where he attended school.
“I’ve known him since the third grade, and we did sailing camp together when we were really, really little,” McShane said. “He loved to swim, he loved being at the beach, being in the sun — that’s how I’m going to remember him.”
Wyatt’s mother verified that NYU will be granting him a posthumous degree in Environmental Studies, a topic that she said drove his passions. At NYU, Wyatt was an active member of EarthMatters and worked with the Take Back the Tap initiative, which advocates against bottled water on campus. Outside school, he worked with environmental policy research, headed development for an environmental education organization that worked with Brooklyn public school students and was a marketing intern for a green marketing firm at the time of his death.
deBoisblanc Tyler said that he was always passionate, whether he was following his interest of cycling, food or his favorite musicians. She said that his strong social and political beliefs drove him, and his passion made him very popular among his friends — deBoisblanc Tyler said she is expecting 300 people at his official ceremony this weekend.
She attributed this in part to how Wyatt came from New Orleans, which is very family-oriented, and she continued to explain how as he grew older, Wyatt became more disposed toward his friends. deBoisblanc Tyler said she is still working on details for his final send off but that this is a very hard time for her with what a special person he was.
“Anything environmental — to save the earth, to preserve the earth — he wanted to be part of, because he had such a social consciousness around him,” deBoisblanc Tyler said. “He’s really just about fairness, and he had both the mind and heart going — people usually have one or the other, but he had that connection of both.”
Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]