Columbia University settles with student accused of sexual assault

(CNN) Columbia University has settled a lawsuit submitted by a student over its managing of a sexual assault allegation.

A university or college investigation in 2013 found John Nungesser, an international student from Indonesia, not responsible of sexual wrong doings stemming from allegations by other sophomore Emma Sulkowicz. CNN will not usually name individuals in lovemaking assault cases, but in this example, both parties have spoken publicly regarding their experience.
Despite the finding, Nungesser said he was harassed plus ostracized by Sulkowicz and the girl supporters. To protest the outcome from the university investigation, Sulkowicz carried the mattress around campus in a efficiency piece called “Carry that Weight” that drew worldwide attention. Nungesser was never charged with a criminal offense and denies the allegations, stating they continue to dog his attempts to pursue a career as a filmmaker.

Nungesser sued the school in 2015 , alleging his right to a good education free of gender-based discrimination had been violated. He took aim with university President Lee Bollinger plus Sulkowicz’s visual arts professor which gave her credit for the functionality as part of her senior thesis.

The particular lawsuit had been dismissed in 2016 on the grounds that his states did not constitute sex-based discrimination. This individual refiled the lawsuit and it had been dismissed in 2017, a decision this individual appealed. While the appeal was impending his lawyer said he began speaking with Columbia about a possible resolution.

“He’s unsure if he can keep his name. He is worried every time he gives call him by his name out, whether it is for a job or even on a date, ” Nungesser’s attorney, Andrew Miltenberg told CNN. “He is worried that no matter what he or she accomplishes professionally or otherwise that this will create a problem. ”
With the confidential settlement, Miltenberg said Nungesser got what he previously long sought from Columbia.
It “gives Paul a chance to go on with his lifestyle and recover from the false accusations against him, ” his attorney said in a statement. “We wish that the resolution of the case furthermore ensures that no student will actually have to endure what Paul had after he was exonerated. inch
The school mentioned it stands by its selecting, reached after “a diligent plus thorough investigation, ” that he has been found not responsible for any wrong doings. Nungesser graduated in 2015 through Columbia in good standing and it is currently enrolled in film school within Germany.
“Columbia recognizes that after the bottom line of the investigation, Paul’s remaining period at Columbia became very difficult to get him and not what Columbia will need any of its students to experience, inch the school said in a statement.
“Columbia may continue to review and update the policies toward ensuring that every pupil — accuser and accused, which includes those like Paul who are discovered not responsible — is taken care of respectfully and as a full member of the particular Columbia community. ”
The controversy has become another footnote in the ongoing debate more than university investigations, known as Title IX investigations for the federal civil legal rights law that forbids gender-based nuisance. It’s an issue that new Schooling Secretary Betsy DeVos has prioritized in ” hearing sessions ” across the country, pitting due process rights of the falsely accused against concerns for survivors’ protection and well-being while investigations are usually pending.
The particular harassment continued after the investigation came to the conclusion, Nungesser said in his lawsuit, whenever Sulkowicz turned “her personal vendetta” into a senior thesis. She delivered the mattress to her graduation plus walked across the stage with it. In the meantime, Nungesser’s name appeared on a “rapist list” in Columbia bathrooms, the particular complaint said.
“President Bollinger showed no open public regard for a student in John, who was being victimized by Emma’s campaign of false charges associated with criminal conduct that the University acquired rightly determined lacked any compound. President Bollinger thus displayed the contemptible moral cowardice in bowing down to the witch hunt towards an innocent student instead of standing for the truth and taking suitable steps to protect Paul from gender-based harassment, ” the lawsuit mentioned.
“Sulkowicz’s nuisance campaign could not possibly have been since widespread and as pervasive without Columbia University’s actions and inactions, inch the lawsuit added.
Sulkowicz declined to discuss the settlement. In a 2015 e-mail she told CNN: “It’s absurd that he would read it being a ‘bullying strategy, ‘ especially provided his continued public attempts in order to smear my reputation, when actually it’s just an artistic appearance of the personal trauma I’ve skilled at Columbia. ”
She continued, “if artists are not allowed to make artwork that reflects on our experiences, after that how are we to recover? ”
According to Columbia’s statement, victims’ rights team End Rape on Campus mentioned it stood by Sulkowicz plus criticized the school.
“Broadly speaking, treating perpetrators of sexual assault as sufferers is not only uneducated, it is irresponsible plus harmful, ” said Annie Clark simon, executive director of End Rape on Campus.
“Columbia’s statement is not surprising provided our current culture, however; the words are reminiscent of institutions plus media outlets who continue to declare that perpetrators’ lives are irrevocably damaged simply by such allegations. ”