As a Columbia University sophomore, Emma Sulkowicz was sexually assaulted in her dorm room. Now a senior, she has carried the mattress she was raped on to classes and appointments as a part of her thesis, entitled “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),” after the university failed to take legal action against her attacker. On Tuesday, Sulkowicz carried the mattress to Columbia’s graduation ceremony amidst cheers and applause.
Sulkowicz has been drawing attention to an enormous issue on college campuses throughout her two-year performance project. Only five percent of campus sexual assaults are reported, and those that are rarely result in the administration taking action. Sulkowicz’s project has made visible a reoccuring issue on college campuses across the country. By occupying physical space, and refusing to let the school ignore her assault, Sulkowicz is doing her part to ensure that other women are not denied their right to justice and recognition.
Watch the video below to see the ceremony, as well as University president Lee Bollinger refuse to shake Sulkowicz’s hand after her name is called.
image c/o: NY Mag
video c/o: YouTube