Former Columbia University student Paul Nungesser, who was accused of being a "serial rapist" by mattress-toter Emma Sulkowicz, has amended his lawsuit to include his graduation ceremony, where Sulkowicz carried her mattress across the stage.
The amended complaint, filed on Tuesday, includes a section titled "The mattress attends graduation," and describes how Columbia allowed Sulkowicz to continue her harassment campaign against him through graduation, where she carried her art project, a mattress, across the stage.
"In the weeks and months before graduation, Paul reached out repeatedly to Columbia administrators, requesting detailed information regarding whether Defendant Columbia would allow Emma to carry the mattress at the graduation ceremony," the lawsuit says. "Despite repeated requests, Defendant Columbia refused to provide him with any information."
The night before graduation, university administrators sent an email informing students they could not bring "large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people." Despite Sulkowicz's mattress clearly falling into that category, she did in fact carry her mattress during the ceremony.
"Defendant Columbia did not only let Emma once again publicly harass Paul at his very own college graduation — what should have been one of the best days of his life to date — but also allowed Emma to breach the University's restrictions and regulations in order to do so, affording her a special privilege at the university to engage in gender-based discriminatory harassment of Paul," the lawsuit says.
Nungesser's lawsuit also faults Columbia for bestowing Magna Cum Laude honors upon Sulkowicz, honors that are "based not on GPA alone, but on the high quality of academic achievement, departmental recommendations and outstanding work beyond which is required/or the degree." Nungesser alleges that since Sulkowicz's time at Columbia has been defined by her mattress project, the honor was another instance of the university "directly rewarding, encouraging and celebrating Emma's role in the gender-based discriminatory harassment."
The lawsuit also notes that Columbia Spectator editor Teo Armus took photos of Nungesser at graduation — photos that were later published in other news outlets "so that the world would recognize and remember the face of Emma's target." Armus has since, according to the lawsuit, "stalked" Nungesser, including seeking out his mother's employer in Germany.
Nungesser's lawsuit also includes a new section about the art show where Sulkowicz presented drawings of Nungesser over articles written about her mattress project. The lawsuit cites Columbia's policy of gender-based misconduct, including the examples: "Unwelcome remarks about the private parts of a person's body" and "Graffiti concerning the sexual activity of another person."
Sulkowicz's art project, which included drawings of Nungesser's genitals and depictions of the sexual act Sulkowicz claims occurred between them, would presumably fall under those categories. Yet Columbia did not prevent the images from being posted to be seen by the public, including Nungesser's parents, who were in town for the graduation.
Nungesser claims he was never informed that such prints would be publicly exhibited on campus and provided him no relief despite his ongoing notices of harassment.
Nungesser's amended lawsuit brings up Sulkowicz's activities after graduation, including a pornographic video she posted re-enacting the alleged rape between her and Nungesser. (Sulkowicz claims the video is not a reenactment, but it shows an encounter similar to what she claims happened to her).
"The amount of publicity generated by the video would have been unthinkable without the notoriety she gained previously with the support and involvement of Defendant Columbia," the lawsuit says.
Finally, the amended lawsuit notes that a second art project aimed at Nungesser will take place at Columbia. A male student who accused Nungesser of sexual assault years earlier (and who made the complaint only after Sulkowicz gained national attention) is now planning to use "dance as an individual form of protest that leverages my identity, body and experiences against [...] serial rapists like Paul Nungesser."
This accuser lost his case against Nungesser just like Sulkowicz. The other accuser — the fourth against Nungesser (he was found "not responsible" in all four accusations) — was dismissed because the university found him not credible. Facebook messages backed up Nungesser's side of the story. Further, this fourth accuser called Nungesser a serial rapist, despite only one of the four accusations against Nungesser actually being about rape (one was about alleged relationship abuse, one was about an alleged kiss, and another was about alleged touching). All of the accusations came from Sulkowicz and her friends. The other three accusations came after Sulkowicz discussed reporting with the other accusers.
"The fact that now several projects sponsored and supervised by Defendant Columbia directly attack and harass Paul is highly indicative that the Defendant not only tacitly condones, but actively seeks to create a hostile climate against Paul in which his extra-legal persecution and public shaming is explicitly welcomed and academically rewarded," the lawsuit states.
Nungesser filed his original complaint in April.