Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who became famous last fall for carrying her dorm mattress across campus to protest her alleged sexual assault, graduated on Tuesday – with her mattress beside her.
Sulkowicz carried her mattress with her wherever she went all year in protest of her alleged rapist’s presence on campus. She said she’d carry the mattress everywhere she went until he was expelled.
However, a university investigation cleared the student, identified as Paul Nungesser, of responsibility in the alleged rape, prompting Sulkowicz to carry the mattress across the stage as she graduated.
She was joined by her friends, who helped her carry the mattress as she accepted her diploma to cheers from the audience, the Columbia Spectator reports.
The move came after Columbia emailed students a warning on Monday telling them not to bring “large objects” to commencement.
Nungesser, who also reportedly graduated on Tuesday, filed a lawsuit against Columbia last month, claiming the school failed to protect him from the harassment he received after being accused of rape.
“By refusing to protect Paul Nungesser,” the lawsuit reads, “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.”
Sulkowicz continues to insist Nungesser is responsible.