Emma Sulkowicz is a Columbia University student who was raped by a classmate in her dorm room bed during her sophomore year. The alleged rapist reportedly assaulted two additional students, however the attacker remains enrolled at the New York campus. To protest the school’s actions, or none thereof, the victim carries a mattress everywhere on campus as long as she and her alleged rapist attend the college together New York Magazine reported Tuesday.
According to the Columbia Spectator Emma Sulkowicz is a visual arts major and has chosen performance art for her senior thesis. “Mattress Performance” or “Carry That Weight” is a multipurpose piece to protest Columbia University, earn a grade, and emotionally release the baggage she’s carried for two years, "I was raped in my own dorm bed, and since then that space has become fraught for me, and I feel like I've carried the weight of what happened there with me everywhere since then."
Twenty-three students from Columbia and its affiliate, Barnard College, joined the federal Title IX Complaint “charging systematic mishandling of assault claims and mistreatment of victims” reported The New York Times this past April. The Columbia student supposedly reported the rape to the police and school administrators, however charges were not brought against the alleged rapist who remains studying and living on campus. Sulkowicz fears leaving her dorm room and is frightened by students that resemble her rapist. She continually feels harassed by the perpetrator, who in one instance asked to work in the same dark room where she was located even though they were in different classes.
Representatives for Columbia University declined comment on the status of the alleged rapist/student citing privacy issues NBC New York News claimed in its televised report Wednesday evening. However, the school stated they would not interfere with Emma Sulkowicz's right to protest with her mattress.