In time for Columbia University’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, Gothamist reports, opponents of anti-rape activist and graduating senior Emma Solkowicz plastered light poles, building walls, and subway signs with posters of her image — and allegations that Solkowicz fabricated the story of her assault.
As part of her visual arts thesis, Solkowicz has carted a mattress around campus since September in protest of what she says is a failure by authorities to pursue charges against Paul Nungesser. A fellow member of Columbia’s 2015 graduating class, Nungesser allegedly “beat, strangled, and raped” Solkowicz. Though she reported the attack to school authorities and the New York Police Department, both official bodies declined to cite Nungesser, and the student Solkowicz says raped her remained on campus.
The signs that popped up around Columbia University this morning feature a picture of Solkowicz and her iconic mattress. The posters also include the words: “PRETTY LITTLE LIAR,” EMMA SOLKOWITZ [sic],” “COLUMBIA,” and “#RAPEHOAX.”
Solkowicz committed to lug her mattress around until Nungesser was off campus, either by power of graduation or forceful removal. University President Lee Bollinger did not shake Solkowicz’s hand as she walked carried her mattress across the stage with her on Tuesday’s ceremonial “Class Day” for seniors. Bollinger did, however, shake hands with Nungesser as he passed by to accept his pin, the Columbia Spectator reports.
Nungesser filed a suit against Columbia University in April, claiming that Solkowicz’s thesis project violates Title IX protections and constitutes “gender based harassment.”
As of press time, no individual has come forward to identify themselves as the artist targeting Solkowicz. However, a Twitter account by the handle of @fakerape, featuring Solkowicz’s face in its profile photo, is providing live updates on the so-far mysterious signs, and appears to claim some level of credit for their appearance.
“We will definitely post more posters in the future if we can get funding. No more fake rape!”@fakerape tweets. Several of the account’s recent postings are viewable below, and include mockery of actress Lena Dunham’s weight, an allusion to Nazi paramilitary forces, and curious interpretations of the definition of “free speech:”