Since September, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz (’15) has carried a dorm room mattress with her wherever she goes on campus. Sulkowicz claims that she was raped by a fellow student in her college dorm room. Her “Mattress Performance” is a protest against the Ivy League school’s unwillingness to expel her alleged rapist. It’s her way to raise awareness about the university’s mishandling of her sexual assault claim.
People are going to be aware now. Sulkowicz will attend President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 20 with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Gillibrand, a Democrat, is pushing for the Bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act which would require colleges and universities to improve the way sexual violence is handled on campuses.