In 2014, Emma Sulkowicz, a student at Columbia University, started carrying her 23kg mattress around campus. Her piece of performance art, titled ‘Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),’ was a protest about the university’s handling of her rape charge against fellow student, Paul Nungesser.
Nungesser was cleared of responsibility in the case by a university disciplinary panel in 2013. Now, Nungesser has successfully sued Columbia, accusing it of supporting what he called an “outrageous display of harassment and defamation,” by giving Sulkowicz academic credit for her performance piece.
According to the New York Times, Columbia reached a settlement with Nungesser earlier this month – the terms of which have not been disclosed.
In a statement, the university said: “Columbia recognises that after the conclusion of the investigation, Paul’s remaining time at Columbia became very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience.”
“Columbia will continue to review and update its policies toward ensuring that every student – accuser and accused, including those like Paul who are found not responsible – is treated respectfully and as a full member of the Columbia community.”
Nungesser’s lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg told the Washington Post that the settlement will “give Paul a chance to go on with his life and recover from the false accusation against him.”
Sulkowicz, who graduated in 2015 and carried her mattress across the stage to accept her degree, has not made a statement or responded to the settlement.
RELATED: University Sexual Assault Report
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