When Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz told school officials that she was raped in her dorm room bed on the first day of her sophomore year of college, administrators at the New York university, she says, looked the other way.
Now a senior at the university, Sulkowicz has taken matters into her own hands, according to New York magazine, using performance art as a way to make a statement about the university allowing the alleged rapist to remain on campus unpunished.
So Sulkowicz is carrying a dorm mattress everywhere with her as part of her senior thesis titled "Mattress Performance or Carry That Weight," in which she says in a video about the project that she's carrying "the weight of what happened there with me everywhere."
She and 22 other Columbia and Barnard students have filed a federal Title IX complaint against the university, saying its administrators have mishandled sexual-assault cases.
While Sulkowicz and two other students have told administrators that the same male student has assaulted them, the student has still yet to be expelled from campus.
"Every day, I am afraid to leave my room," Sulkowicz wrote in a Time magazine piece. "Even seeing people who look remotely like my rapist scares me."