Columbia University flooded with 'RapeHoax' street art
Dozens of posters have sprung up around Columbia University’s New York City campus, deeming Emma Sulkowicz, the student who garnered national media attention when she began to carry her mattress around, a “pretty little liar.”
Other posters appeared near campus and in subway stations that featured Lena Dunham sticking her tongue out with the label “big fat liar.” Both sets of posters include the hashtag #rapehoax.
In the posters, Sulkowicz’s name is misspelled as “Sulkowitz.” One poster hangs below a sticker that read “G.O.P RAPES U.S.A.”
Teo Armus, a Columbia student and reporter for the Columbia Spectator, the Ivy’s student newspaper, told Campus Reform via Twitter that it was “hard to say” how many posters were hung on and around campus, but by noon on Wednesday he said he had seen four large posters and approximately 20 small- and medium-sized posters. Some of those, he said, had been torn down.
On Tuesday, Columbia seniors walked in a “Class Day” commencement ceremony. Despite the university warning students in an email not to bring “large objects” to the ceremony, Sulkowicz still walked across the stage with three other female students, mattress in tow.
During the walk across the stage, Sulkowicz did not shake Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger’s hand, as was customary. The New York Times reported that Bollinger turned away as she walked past him.
Sulkowicz has been carrying her mattress around with her ever since September as part of her visual arts thesis. She is protesting the school’s handling of her sexual assault claims and promised to carry her mattress—or “Carry That Weight”—with her until her alleged rapist was no longer at the university.
Sulkowicz told the New York Times that she does not plan to carry her mattress to Wednesday’s commencement.
As previously reported by Campus Reform, Paul Nungesser, the male student Sulkowicz claims raped her, is suing the school for not doing enough to protect him during Sulkowicz’s highly publicized charges. His lawsuit lists the university, its board of trustees, Bollinger, and Sulkowicz’s Visual Arts Professor Jon Kessler—but not Sulkowicz—as defendants.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Nungesser, a German student, claimed that all sexual encounters between him and Sulkowicz were consensual. He even provided copies of messages the two exchanged in the months after the alleged attack occurred. In those messages, she asked him to hang out, spend time together one-on-one.
"The posters highlight the need for clearer explication of what exactly schools are adjudicating under Title IX," Meaghan Ybos, 28, a rape victim and activist based in Memphis, Tenn., told Campus Reform.
Ybos authored and advocated for a bill to remove the statutes of limitations law in Tennessee. That bill passed unanimously in 2014.
Columbia and its sister school—Barnard College—are both under federal Title IX investigations for how the schools handle sexual assault cases.
“We have no information about these posters,” Robert Hornsby, a Columbia spokesman, said in an email to Campus Reform. “Our consistent message to our own university community has emphasized the importance of mutual respect for all graduates and their guests on these days of shared celebration.”
In December, Breitbart reported that Dunham’s account of an alleged sexual assault while she was a student at Oberlin College in Ohio was likely false. Dunham contended that the name she gave her alleged attacker in her book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” was a pseudonym.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn