Columbia Settles Lawsuit With Paul Nungesser
Written by Bwog Staff
Update: The Bwog Editorial Board later received an email with the University’s statement on July 13, at 9:29 PM. We’ve appended the full text of the University statement at the end of this article, and have rectified any statements premised upon not having received this private statement.
According to the docket of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, “The parties in the above-referenced case [Paul Nungesser v. Columbia University] have filed a stipulation withdrawing this appeal pursuant to FRAP 42.” As related by the documents included below, the settlement was officially reached on Monday, July 10. Paul Nungesser, CC ’15, gained fame and notoriety two years ago in conjunction with a rape allegation against him by Emma Sulkowicz, CC ’15. Nungesser’s case, originally filed in April 2015, alleged that Columbia had committed a Title IX violation in allowing Sulkowicz to receive academic credit for her “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),” a performance art piece in which Sulkowicz carried her mattress with her around campus in order to call attention to Nungesser’s lack of punishment by the university. This case was initially thrown out by the court on the grounds that Nungesser’s complaint did not fulfill Title IX qualifications, but was then re-filed last spring.
Although we have included the documents relating to the withdrawal of Nungesser’s appeal below as evidence of the settlement, there is no publicly released statement regarding this settlement from either the press release archive of Columbia University, the official statements of the Office of the President, or the statements of Columbia’s law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which has released two press releases in the past regarding the initial dismissal of Nungesser’s suit.
In a Columbia Daily Spectator article released earlier today, two official statements are included. The quotes contained are now understood to have originated in a private statement transmitted by the University. Although we can now confirm the source of these statements, our journalistic judgement at the time of publishing relied upon the Spectator’s lack of citation of the source of this statement. This led us to confirm the settlement via publicly available court documents—documents which we found journalistically prudent to reproduce as evidence of our organization’s statements.
If any new information is received, Bwog will update this article accordingly.
Paul Nungesser and Columbia University have agreed to settle the lawsuit he filed in 2015.
While Paul was a student at Columbia, he was accused of sexual misconduct. In November 2013, after a diligent and thorough investigation, Paul was found not responsible for any misconduct. Columbia University stands by that finding.
In 2015, Paul graduated from Columbia in good standing as a distinguished John Jay Scholar. John Jay Scholars, like Paul, are recognized for their remarkable academic and personal achievements, dynamism, intellectual curiosity, and original thinking. Paul is currently enrolled at an internationally recognized film school and has launched a career as a filmmaker.
Columbia recognizes that after the conclusion of the investigation, Paul’s remaining time at Columbia became very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience. Columbia will continue to review and update its policies toward ensuring that every student––accuser and accused, including those like Paul who are found not responsible––is treated respectfully and as a full member of the Columbia