A Columbia University student's highly-publicized senior art thesis, which entailed dragging a mattress around campus until the student who raped her is expelled, has now drawn a lawsuit—from the alleged rapist.
Paul Nungesser, who has been accused of raping three female students but was never charged, is suing Columbia University, accusing the school of bias. From the NY Times:
...Nungesser, who was cleared of responsibility in the rape claim by the university, alleges in the lawsuit that he had been the victim of a harassment campaign by the other student, Emma Sulkowicz.
“By refusing to protect Paul Nungesser,” the lawsuit says, “Columbia University first became a silent bystander and then turned into an active supporter of a fellow student’s harassment campaign by institutionalizing it and heralding it.”
...The lawsuit alleges that Jon Kessler, the professor who is named as a defendant, not only approved the project but also “publicly endorsed her harassment and defamation” of Mr. Nungesser.
“She is actively earning course credit from Columbia for this outrageous display of harassment and defamation,” the lawsuit says, with the school aware that “Paul’s legal rights are being violated and that his well-being and future prospects are suffering immensely.”
Sulkowicz had accused Nungesser of raping, beating and strangling her during her sophomore year. Though Columbia cleared him of the accusations, the school paper, The Columbia Spectator, named him, noting that Sulkowicz had "filed a police report this week... Sulkowicz and other students have said that she and two other women filed separate complaints against Nungesser through the University." Nungesser was also one of four students accused of rape whose names were listed on flyers and scrawled on bathroom stalls.
Numerous students brought their mattresses out in solidarity with Sulkowicz during a sexual assault demonstration last year.
Sulkowicz is not named in the suit. She told the Times, "I think it’s ridiculous that Paul would sue not only the school but one of my past professors for allowing me to make an art piece." She also called her thesis "an artistic expression of the personal trauma I’ve experienced at Columbia."