The man “Mattress Girl” Emma Sulkowicz maligned in her quest for fame and relevancy has received a settlement from Columbia University in a Title IX gender discrimination suit.
The saga began when Sulkowicz accused student Paul Nungesser of rape in 2012. Even though Nungesser was found not guilty by a university investigation, Sulkowicz’s senior thesis was lugging around a mattress across campus to protest what she viewed as a mishandling of her case. Sulkowicz has since gone on to make a pornographic film of her “rape” and perform in bondage art shows.
The Washington Post reports that in the 2015 case, Nungesser argued the school violated his Title IX rights and were involved in “abetting the woman’s gender-based harassment.” The Columbia’s Spectator’s reporting on the incident claims Nungesser’s case argued the university “even encouraged” Sulkowicz’s rape-related activism.
In a statement after the settlement, Columbia said, “Columbia recognizes 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,” they continued.
Columbia also restated that Nungesser was not found responsible for sexual misconduct “after a diligent and thorough investigation.”
The specifics of the settlement were not made public.
Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer who handles Title IX cases, told the Washington Post, “I think this case fits into the larger debate in that the mark of being called a rapist is a significant one, and it follows you regardless of whether or not the university finds you responsible.”
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