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Emma Sulkowicz Attends State Of The Union

"Dammit, I forgot sexual assault"

“Dammit, I forgot sexual assault”

“Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!” boomed the Sergeant in Arms, who traditionally announces the President’s arrival into the House chamber to deliver his annual State of the Union address. Among the many invited guests of the President, First Lady, Vice President and the hundreds of Congressmen and women, was Columbia’s own Emma Sulkowicz, invited by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) for her “Carry that Weight” project and ensuing efforts against campus sexual violence.

Once President Obama began his address, he talked in great breadth, and in many cases, great depth. He ran the gamut of topics one could cover in an address that lasts about an hour: a host of social issues, energy (oil independence), college (Obama’s proposal is to make community college free for all), better bipartisanship cooperation, climate change and both military and diplomatic force in foreign affairs (dealing with ISIS and a non-nuclear Iran are items Obama addressed), among other issues. It seemed as if the only thing Obama neglected to talk about was the reason Emma Sulkowicz was there: sexual violence on college campuses.

Gillbrand, Sulkowicz’s host, is currently trying to pass a piece of legislation called the “Campus Safety and Accountability Act,” and according to a TIME magazine article on Sulkowicz’s appearance, Gillibrand also pushed Obama to include Emma’s story as a segment on the issue in the State of the Union address. He did not. And while she was not the most important person in the chamber, Emma was not shown on the broadcast, despite the plentiful media coverage (see above) surrounding her appearance.

In addition to Emma, though, there were at least a few people in the room with Columbia educations, none more obvious and important than Obama himself. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY) studied at Columbia Law School and Columbia College, respectively. While it may have been disappointing to not hear the President speak on sexual assault on college campuses in his address, it is still impressive to consider the influential Columbia presence in the room.

Chief via Shutterstock

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21 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Emma was so upset that “no one seemed to know who I am”. Poor thing. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/sulkowicz-was-let-down-by-state-of-the-union.html
    Obama really let her down!

  • 3rd grade assignment? says:

    @3rd grade assignment? did your teacher make you watch the SOTU last night and write a report? i’m glad your parents let you stay up past your bedtime!

  • #ican't says:

    @#ican't Why is this even news?

    1. someone with a memory says:

      @someone with a memory It is news. Nungesser said to nymag:

      “I voluntarily let myself be interviewed by DA chief of Sex Crimes at SVU in New York City, in August 2014,” he said. “Shortly after this interview, the DA’s office informed me that they decided not to pursue the case further.”

      Well, bwog missed these news, though. Remember when she said she found it too draining to pursue charges with the police? This was in September.

      Gosh, how draining it can be too pursue a case that has no evidence and that is found not credible by the DA!

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous pretty sure any Columbia student being invited to attend the president’s State of the Union would have deserved a BWOG post

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Not if they blatantly lied to get there

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Don’ you mean “allegedly” lied? ;)
          Unless you have definitive proof that a rape did not occur.
          Which you don’t or this wouldn’t be such an ordeal.

          Also, whatever you might believe about Sulkowitz’s personal case, you don’t get invited to SOTU for claiming you were raped. You get invited for effectively mobilizing a campus (and many campuses across the nation) for a hot political cause in a way that very, very few people manage to do.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous Yeah, but very few people are such accomplished liars.

  • Next Up says:

    @Next Up Emma Sulkowicz goes to Hamdel.

    1. The Sequel says:

      @The Sequel HamDel Makes New Sandwich In Honor of Sulkowicz: Matt-wich

  • English major says:

    @English major Good God.

  • Emma S says:

    @Emma S Secret service confiscated my matress on the way in. #MatressGate

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Is the mattress to show that she sleeps around?

  • Emma S says:

    @Emma S Obama put it in the butt for me afterwards – satisfying trip all things considered.

  • wtf says:

    @wtf The tone in which this piece is written is ridiculously inappropriate even if Emma’s visit ought to be a news item (which is also debatable).

    “Gillibrand also pushed Obama to include Emma’s story as a segment on the issue in the State of the Union address. He did not.”

    “It seemed as if the only thing Obama neglected to talk about was the reason Emma Sulkowicz was there: sexual violence on college campuses.”

    “While it may have been disappointing to not hear the President speak on sexual assault on college campuses in his address…”

    Seriously…? Who wrote this piece? It reads like a combination of a minor political party press release and a PTA newsletter.

  • A Fan says:

    @A Fan #ThanksOdessky

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous K….

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Oh hey, nice October 2014 Spec op-ed.

  • Boba says:

    @Boba She is in it for the attention. She wasn’t even raped

  • Chloe says:

    @Chloe Note to Gillibrand: Have you no shame? Do you have the faintest notion of due process and the value of a reputation? By giving credence to Sulkowicz, you are supporting the notion that allegations — and not proof — are sufficient to convict. Sounds like McCarthyism. You are a lightweight senator.

  • Clement Greenberg says:

    @Clement Greenberg Mattressgate: Sulkowicz very well knows that Tracey Emin has made millions from this sort of “conceptual art,” specifically she knows about the recent $4 million auction sale of Emin’s, er, MATTRESS. — Sulkowicz has successfully launched her career as a transgressive cutting edge relevant epater-les-bourgeoisie artist. — Not a bad strategy to adopt at the time (near graduation) she was pondering how to get her art-genius career started. Looks like dump-the-boyfriend and invent a marketable art object (how much is she going to charge for the famous mattress artwork? $10,000? $50,000?, more?) Some people call this case a rape fantasy case, but it might be more of an Ivy League career-launching case.

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