Annie Clark, 25, and Andrea Pino, 22, two political-science majors from the University of North Carolina started a movement that is finally getting some play – thanks to Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. the international sensation “mattress girl,” Her “performance art” piece is getting international attention as she protests the verdict in an alleged rape at Columbia university. In an appeal of an earlier decision, Columbia’s Dean declared the alleged sexual assaulter not guilty of the crime, and the matter ended… but not for Sulkowicz, who vows to carry a mattress wherever she goes on campus, for the entire year (until she graduates – when the man she accuses of rape is expected to as well – or until he is asked to leave campus). A video where she discusses her performance art experience is embedded in this article, also by New York Magazine. Columbia students discussed this and other matters relating to sexual assault on their blog – here’s an entry that discusses the problem of sexual assault on the campus. Zoe Ridolfi-Starr is an organizer of the Columbia University branch of this momentum-gaining movement. Why is a movement required? Well, to answer that I would direct you to a New York Times article that discusses a case at Hobart and William Smith Colleges that was by comparison handled in barbaric fashion. Seemingly, this is a much bigger issue, catapulting Clark and Pino, as well as mattress-carrier Sulkowicz, into media revolutionaries. As the New York Magazine article reports about Pino and Clark: “Working with a network of activists, they’ve helped survivors learn about their Title IX rights and file complaints about violations across the country. Today, 78 American colleges, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, Swarthmore, Brandeis, Emerson, and a slew of West Coast schools from UC Berkeley to USC to UCLA, are under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.”
78? I think that number is a bit high, and perhaps indicative of a rather large problem, don’t you?