About Nungesser: The Man Emma Sulkowicz Reported For Rape
I already wrote about Emma Sulkowicz. She reported a man to Columbia University for raping her, but the panel cleared him. She went to the police, but they treated her poorly and did nothing. Then she formulated a performance art piece, Carry That Weight, which has been widely covered and has received a great deal of support both within and without the university.
Her parents wrote a letter identifying the man she reported, and shedding significant additional light: the same man, Jean-Paul Nungesser, was previously adjudicated responsible in an incident of violence sexual assault against a different female student, following her to her room and shoving her inside. And Emma Sulkowics made her decision to report him after learning from other women about incidents indicating that his behavior was part of a pattern. Here’s one thing they say:
3) The fact that Nungesser had previously been found “responsible” by a Columbia panel for following another Columbia student to her room, shoving his way in, forcefully pinning, and groping her was not allowed as evidence in Emma’s hearing. Just days before her hearing, Dean Valentini granted an appeal of this verdict, which re-opened the case and consequently disallowed it as evidence. This effectively hamstrung Emma’s case. (An aside: The final hearing for this other case was scheduled and held at a time the complainant had specified that she was not available to testify. Without her presence, the original panel’s “responsible” verdict was easily overturned.)
Much of what they say is about Rosalie Siler, the Columbia minion who acted as Sulkowics’ sole advisor and who, her parents say, essentially hindered rather than helped the presentation of the evidence of Nungesser’s misconduct. One might suspect, given both that the grant of appeal managed to fortuitously keep the prior conduct out as evidence in Sulkowics’ hearing, and that the University scheduled the new hearing for a time when the complaining witness was unavailable, and that the Sulkowicss allege that Emma was advised not to get her own lawyer (though Nungesser had one) and that her advisor did more to interfere with her case than to present it, that this was an effort to protect Nungesser.
The social dimension of the current political moment is this: universities are not willing to do much of anything to stop rape, but are willing to put quite a lot of effort into hushing it up, including putting a thumb on the rapist’s side of the scale in their adjudication processes. That’s what Columbia here stands accused of.