On Tuesday, Columbia University visual arts major Emma Sulkowicz showed up to her graduation ceremony carrying her mattress in protest of campus rape and sexual assault, despite the university banning “large objects” from the venue.

TruthRevolt previously reported on Sulkowicz’s self-proclaimed “endurance performance art” piece she vowed to carry on campus as long as the student she accused of raping her remained enrolled at Columbia. She fulfilled her promise to carry the mattress until graduation.

While performing her “art” on campus, other students were allowed to help “Carry That Weight” — Sulkowicz’s senior thesis — as long as they offered to help and weren’t asked. Pictures have now begun to appear on Twitter showing students helping to tote the mattress around the graduation venue:

The Columbia Spectator notes that this year marks the first time a ban on large objects was issued by the university for graduation. This was apparently done in anticipation of Sulkowicz’s plan to bring the mattress with her. On Monday, Columbia sent out the following in an e-mail to students:

Graduates should not bring into the ceremonial area large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people.

In 2012, Sulkowicz accused a German student, Paul Nungesser, of raping her after the couple had several previous consensual sexual encounters. The last, which included consensual anal sex according to Nungesser, spurred the rape accusation. Though she admits that the encounter was at first consensual, Sulkowicz maintains that Nungesser choked and hit her before forcing the sex act on her.

There were two other women who later stepped forward with claims of sexual assault (not rape) against Nungesser, however, there was some questions as to the validity of the claims, as well as accusations of collaboration amongst the supposed victims. In the end, Nungesser was cleared of any wrongdoing in all of the cases though in the eyes of the media and campus feminists, he is guilty as charged.

In an attempt to clear his name, Nungesser recently provided The Daily Beast detailed accounts of his relationship with Sulkowicz, including loving chats and messages that seem to show that the couple had always had a cordial friendship, even carrying on after the alleged rape. Sulkowicz promised to provide The Beast with “annotations” to those messages to provide proper “context,” but never did.

After their own investigation and interviews, The Beast concludes:

Yet this case is far from as clear-cut as much of the media coverage has made it out to be. And if Nungesser is not a sexual predator, he could be seen as a true victim: a man who has been treated as guilty even after he has proved his innocence.


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