For Paul Nungesser, it was yet another reminder of how alone he was on that storied campus, and how hated he was.
He and his parents had agonized over whether to attend the ceremony because his classmate Emma Sulkowicz had accused him of raping her, and for more than eight months she had carried an extra-long twin-size mattress around campus, vowing to do so until he was expelled, or fled.
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(Karin Nungesser and Andreas have been together 25 years but are not married.) Emma Sulkowicz carries her mattress with the help of friends as she receives her diploma at Columbia University's graduation ceremony on May 19 in New York.
Sulkowicz defied a school ban on “large objects” to haul her mattress to the podium when she claimed her diploma.
Despite this very public shaming, Nungesser had stayed in school and earned his degree.
Nungesser wore a matching blue bow tie and khaki pants, while some of his classmates stuck red tape to their caps, part of a campus anti-sexual-violence organization called No Red Tape, co-founded by Sulkowicz.You’ve held contrary opinions, held die-ins and sit-ins and carried mattresses....Never stop being activists.”“It was like a slap in the face,” says Andreas Probosch, Nungesser’s father.But a less-told consequence is the tendency by schools to trample due process rights for the accused, according to some higher education and legal experts.“There was for a long time a perception that colleges were not responsive at all to claims of sexual misconduct,” says Samantha Harris, director of policy research at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.