Students protest sexual violence with mattresses covered in harassing messages

Blaise Desnoes
New York Campus Correspondent

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  • Colgate students brought mattresses, pillows, and blankets to class in order to show solidarity with victims of sexual assault.
  • Student activists wrote messages of sexual harassment on the mattresses with the hashtag "#Heard@Colgate."
  • Wednesday’s project was part of the Carry That Weight Campaign, started by a sexual assault victim at Columbia University earlier this year.
  • Colgate University’s campus was littered with mattresses carrying some harsh messages Wednesday afternoon.

    In solidarity with Emma Sulkowicz, a sexual assault activist at Columbia University, Colgate’s own student activists brought mattresses, pillows, and blankets to class as part of the Carry That Weight Campaign. Students wrote messages on the mattresses of sexual harassment they had heard around campus.

    "You’ll never be able to prove it was me."   

    “Guys only want one thing. You need to stop getting so drunk,” bold green writing on one mattress read.

    “You’ll never be able to prove it was me,” read another mattress.

    The mattresses were labeled #Heard@Colgate.

    On a Facebook event page for a separate event held at Colgate, students encouraged their peers to support the mattress campaign.

    "Colgate, too, has sexual violence. Colgate, too, is home to the pain suffered by students like Emma at Columbia. And it is time that Colgate, too, begins a conversation about the assaults that take place on our campus,” Laura Wojcik, a Colgate student, posted.

    “Please take a moment to read and reflect upon the words painted on mattresses and displayed around campus today. These are the quotes of our classmates, our friends, and our teammates. These are the voices of Colgate. These are the experiences of our students. Join us in validating these experiences. Join us in pledging to make our campus a safer one."

    Wojcik did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Campus Reform.

    The mattress movement followed Monday’s "Sexual Climate Forum," a discussion on sexual violence on campus with Liz Canner, a filmmaker whose documentaries center on human rights issues.

    According to the most recent crime statistics, Colgate had three reported cases of forcible sexual assaults on campus in residential facilities in 2012. One assault was reported in 2011 and two in 2010.

    Colgate also offers a “ Yes Means Yes” sexual education course for P.E. credit

    UPDATE: As seen in photos obtained by Campus Reform, at least one mattress has had graffiti drawn onto it. 

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @blaisedesnoes



    Blaise Desnoes

    Blaise Desnoes

    New York Campus Correspondent

    As a Campus Correspondent, Blaise exposed liberal bias and abuses at New York's colleges and universities for Campus Reform. Since graduating, she is no longer a Campus Correspondent.

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