After Obama's win in 2008, the feminists came for their quid pro quo. Free abortion coupons. Also, they wanted a rape culture bump. A decade or more of falling sexual assault crime stats was stepping on their fundraising totems.
The Obama Justice department leaned into higher rape stats through a series of Orwellian reclassifications and edicts forcing college administrators to adjudicate sexual assaults as internal college matters. Due process being such a bother and all. Universities were literally told to get their rape numbers up if they didn't want Title IX trouble.
That's about the time the White House declared a nationwide epidemic with 25% of coeds likely to be raped on American college campuses. The exaggeration was statistically ludicrous. But who was going to question the freshly invigorated rape culture? The Huffington Post? The New York Times? Campus rape mania wasn't only politically virtuous, it was massively publicized. Great for clicks. Ask Rolling Stone why they let their editorial standards completely slide on the UVA story. Not a random accident.
Within this political environment, Columbia University sophomore Emma Sulkowicz insisted she became powerless to defend herself against fellow student Paul Nungesser and his primal male instinct for rape while the two were alone in her dorm room in 2012.
Nungesser proclaimed his innocence throughout the ensuing investigation. Despite the public pressure and the school's political leanings, the University cleared Nungesser of any wrongdoing. Additionally, the police investigated and closed the case for lack of any criminal evidence.
Sulkowicz responded to procedurally being called a liar by dramatically carrying her dorm room mattress on her back around campus. "Mattress Girl" quickly became the paramount cause among campus feminists, as well as numerous professors and politicians backing Sulkowicz as a victim of the rape culture and patriarchal justice system. Numerous Columbia students harassed Nungesser as a de facto rapist. One professor used the Sulkowicz case in the classroom to virtually convict Nungesser. Another teacher allowed Mattress Girl to earn school credit from art projects and videos graphically recreating her "rape" (see photo above). The rape that never happened. Imagine she received an "A". To this day, Sulkowicz is still invited to art events in Manhattan as a special guest.
Nungesser left Columbia claiming the intimidation was beyond tolerable and the school itself did zilch to defend him. Despite clearing him of all charges, The University administration openly condoned the actions of those who continued to refer to Nungesser as a rapist. In 2015, Nungesser filed a civil suit against Columbia for helping to ruin his public and professional reputation and cost him job opportunities. Google is a deadly anchor for those even falsely accused of crimes. Especially sex crimes.
This week Columbia settled the civil suit for an undisclosed amount with Nungesser. Assume it was a large figure if the settlement includes nobody being able to talk about the amount.
The egg on the face payout could've been avoided if the University had been so radical as to back the falsely accused rather than hedge their support in a shameful kowtow. Don't assume if a similar case arises again they won't proceed in precisely the same manner. A million or two clams is a blip out of their multi-billion dollar endowment. Nothing compared to receiving shameful scolds from the enlightened New York media and social justice avengers at the next political fundraising gala.
Photo credit: Getty Images