Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz, who accused fellow student Paul Nungesser of rape and then carried a mattress all year in protest of the administration’s handling of her claims, carried that mattress onstage during Tuesday’s commencement exercises. Sulkowicz was helped by several friends; the audience cheered as they marched across the stage.
Here’s a video, via the Columbia Spectator:
Graduating students were warned in an email yesterday not to bring “large objects” to commencement, according to the Columbia Spectator, including anything which could “interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people.” Graduation somehow proceeded even with a mattress present; reporters present at the ceremony said Sulkowicz was greeted with cheers and applause, and that she did not shake hands with Columbia President Lee Bollinger.
Nungesser also graduated today. He was found “not responsible” in a campus disciplinary hearing, and the Manhattan District Attorney declined to press charges against him. He is suing Columbia—but not Sulkowicz—alleging that the school allowed a hostile learning environment and allowed Sulkowicz to “harass” him.
Screengrab via Columbia Spectator/YouTube