A high-profile case involving rape allegations at Columbia University has taken another unusual turn. The accused student, Paul Nungesser, has sued the school and accused it of allowing his accuser to publicly ruin his name, reports the Guardian. The suit is referring to the senior thesis of Emma Sulkowicz, who has been walking around campus with a dorm mattress as an art piece about what happened. She claims Nungesser raped her in 2012, but he maintains their sex was consensual. The university cleared him, but Nungesser says it never should have allowed her senior thesis to move forward. The suit also names the professor who approved it, but not Sulkowicz.
“By refusing to protect Paul Nungesser, 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," says the lawsuit, as quoted by the New York Times. Nungesser is seeking unspecified damages. “I think it’s ridiculous that Paul would sue not only the school but one of my past professors for allowing me to make an art piece,” writes Sulkowicz in an email. “It’s ridiculous that he would read it as a ‘bullying strategy’, especially given his continued public attempts to smear my reputation."