Columbia Student Brings Her Mattress To Graduation To Protest Rape Case

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Tuesday was graduation day for students at Columbia College, the oldest undergraduate college of Columbia University.

Emma Sulkowicz walked across the stage at Columbia College Class Day to cheers, carrying her rape protest mattress, according to the school's newspaper.

Sulkowicz made national news for carrying around her mattress across campus to protest the university’s handling of her alleged sexual assault.

She says she was sexually assaulted her sophomore year by another Columbia student in her own dorm room. Eight months later, she filed a complaint against her alleged attack, and he was ultimately found 'not responsible.'

Last month, the Columbia student who was accused of rape sued the NYC school. Paul Nungesser was cleared of charges in Sulkowicz's rape claim, according to the lawsuit, CNN reports. Nungesser filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Columbia, President Lee Bolinger and the professor who allowed Sulkowicz's project, "Carry That Weight," according to CNN.

Sulkowicz spoke to TIME earlier and told them during an interview that she was raped during her sophomore year. She was part of a group of Columbia and Barnard students who filed a federal Title IX complaint over how the university handled sexual assault cases.

Ever since the university dismissed her case, she vowed to carry a mattress everywhere across campus as part of her senior thesis titled “Carry That Weight.


An article in the Columbia Spectator, the school's daily newspaper, explains the a last-minute rule banning bringing 'large objects' on the graduation stage. Despite this rule, Sulkowicz showed up with her mattress.

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Sulkowicz carries the mattress up the stairs with help from her friends. She has kept her promise and continued to carry the mattress while on campus until her alleged rapist is expelled.

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Unclear if it was intentional, Sulkowicz did not shake hands with Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger.

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