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Columbia settles with Nungesser

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Replies to: Columbia settles with Nungesser

  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,341 Senior Member
    She harassed him and the college should have stopped that pronto and they did not, they sanctioned the harassment by allowing her to call it a senior project. She is a hot mess but the college actions were very poor and they could have stopped the harassment. There is no "but" at all in this situation..the university sanctioned her continued harassment and I bet they will never do it again. The police shouldn't even have needed to be involved in the harassment, the uni could have put a stop to it pretty easily. Now the uni pays the price for their inability to think clearly.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 5,988 Senior Member
    edited July 16
    now the uni pays the price..............

    No, their insurance companies pays. And I agree with @collegedad13 this was most likely no settlement to write home about.
  • younghossyounghoss Registered User Posts: 3,021 Senior Member
    edited July 16
    bestmom has such a god point in post 14. Past examples of "victim blaming" were that a woman got raped because her skirt was so short, a guy couldn't resist forcing her into sex. Or that a wallet was stolen from inside a car because a car door wasn't locked. Those are real examples of victims of crime where the victim was unfairly blamed for something done wrong.
    In this case, as bestmom has noted, according to the article, the alleged perp was found not guilty. It would be unfair to call him a rapist after this finding, similarly it would be improper to call this young woman a victim of his crime.
    Victim blaming is real, and is a despicable, shady tactic to excuse a criminal act, but it does not apply here.

    In this case, it's not just that they didn't discipline him, it's that he was found not guilty, according to the article. They did, in fact, determine he was not responsible.

    According to the article, his case was dismissed because it was brought using title 9, so the dismissal was not on the merits of the case but rather based on a mis-application of title 9.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 853 Member
    "Also Ms. S is not a "victim" technically because Mr.N was found not guilty. She is the accuser."

    Well OJ was not found guilty either but there sure were victims, as well as Michael Jackson. In the OJ case the the jury was out to lunch, one said she voted not guilty to get back at LAPD for Rodney King. At least in the MJ case the jurors said that they thought he was guilty but the evidence wasn't presented by the prosecution to convict him.

  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,670 Senior Member
    edited July 16
    @theloniusmonk

    OJ was found guilty in the civil trial. The burden of proof in a Title IX proceeding is much lower than that of a criminal trial.
  • bestmom888bestmom888 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    @theloniusmonk That's right -- OJ was found not guilty, and it would have been wrong of the Police Dept or the Court if they were to continue to harass him after the verdict. By allowing Ms. S to carry her mattress to Commencement, an official Columbia event, Columbia supported the harassment of Mr. N even though it had found Mr. N not guilty. For that, Mr. N deserves the apology from Columbia.

    Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were victims, which has everything to do with the fact that they were murdered and nothing to do with whether or not OJ was the killer. But was Ms. S a "victim"? According to Columbia she wasn't. They determined that there was no rape, therefore, no "rape victim" exists, technically.

    While Columbia was wrong to continue to support the harassment of Mr. N after it's own verdict, Ms. S is entitled to her free speech and to continue to call him a rapist, just like the Nicole and Ron's families are free to continue to call OJ a murderer.
  • bestmom888bestmom888 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    "And I agree with @collegedad13 this was most likely no settlement to write home about."

    @HarvestMoon1 Depends on what Mr. N was aiming for -- money, principle or more protection for future accused? Personally I would have been satisfied with a public apology and a promise to revise and change policies for the future, in addition to have my litigation costs paid of course.

  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,341 Senior Member
    All three I'm sure. Two he got so would guess he got the third and perhaps more.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 5,988 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    I see a lot more gray area here than other posters relative to what Columbia's responsibilities were relative to Ms. Sulkowicz.

    While perhaps many of us would have chosen alternate means, what Emma Sulkowicz did in essence was protest a verdict -- the verdict of the disciplinary committee that she did not prove her case of sexual assault. People protest verdicts all the time and rightly or wrongly those acquitted pay the price.

    As posters have noted above OJ was harassed by the public at large, so was Casey Anthony after her acquittal -- she still lives under a pseudonym. They were called "murderers" in every media outlet on earth despite the fact that a jury declared both innocent. Ruth Madoff who also lives in exile comes to mind as do the police officers acquitted in the Back Lives Matter cases. Did anyone step in and shut down the speech or harassment in any of those cases? Should they have?

    And would it have made any difference if Emma Sulkowicz had carried around a large placard with a picture of the mattress or the room where she alleges she was assaulted? Would she have had a right to carry that placard around campus?



  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,341 Senior Member
    Title IX explicitly prohibits sexual harassment on colleges...title IX does not say that men may not sexually harass but it is OK for females to sexually harass. Title IX should cover males and females on campuses. There are clear laws in society outside the college setting that also govern what is harassment and what is not but this case was specifically about what the universities responsibilities were around what students can and can't do to each other.

    In my opinion the fact the university let her drag that thing at commencement sealed the university's fate legally. Good heavens did they not have anyone near the graduates who could grab it and tell this woman her so called senior project was over and her mattress was inappropriate at graduation?
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 5,988 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    @Ohiodad5 wrote:
    I seriously doubt that anyone involved spent a lot of time debating whether Sulkowicz had a right to allege she was raped by Nungesser.
    Yes agree, but what posters here are discussing is her right to protest the finding that he did not sexually assault her. And Columbia's responsibilities in response to that protest.
    The question was always did Columbia have a duty to shut down the obviously harrassing conduct, and would they have done so if Nungesser was walking around campus (and getting academic credit) while holding up signs saying Sulkowicz was fat.

    Well no, the specific issues under the first complaint were did Sulkowicz's actions constitute gender based discrimination and did Columbia violate Nungesser's rights under Title IX by offering her credit for the "performance art?" Judge Gregory Wood said "nope" on both counts and dismissed the complaint, but gave Nungesser the chance to file an amended complaint and better plead his case.

    On the second go around Nungesser attacked Columbia's policy itself saying it promoted a stereotype of the "sex-driven male" and this constituted gender based discrimination under Title IX. Again, Judge Gregory Woods dismissed the case for failure to state a cause of action.

    Nungesser then prepared an appeal and they just settled before it was filed. So yes he pled his Title IX case in federal court and twice it was dismissed.

    Not sure if we are talking about the same signs but Columbia did not take down those "fat" signs-- it was my understanding that city took down some of them because they did not get a permit and supporters of Sulkowicz took down others.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,233 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    @HarvestMoon1 I didn't realize that Wood had dismissed the refiled complaint. Given Doe, it is hard to see how that would have survived the 2nd circuit though. But yes, Wood has done everything in his power to signal he doesn't think the case has legs. And that is certainly something Columbia would have used in settlement negotiations to deflate the ultimate number.

    And I am not sure what distinctions you are making between my language of "harrasing conduct" and your formulation of "promoting the stereotype of the sex driven male". Either way, it seems very obvious that the case was about double standards and not Sulkowiz's "free speech".

    And I have no specific memory of whether the posters were removed by the school or the city. But I do have a pretty clear memory that many/most of the posters were placed on the physical campus. Not sure why the city would be quickly removing posters on Columbia's campus proper.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 5,988 Senior Member
    And I am not sure what distinctions you are making between my language of "harrasing conduct" and your formulation of "promoting the stereotype of the sex driven male".

    I was just pointing out that Nungesser switched targets in the second complaint -- from Sulkowicz and Columbia to the Title IX policy itself. He claimed for example the policies gave no examples of sexual violence against a male by a female perpetrator but only vice versa. He further alleged that all the videos shown during the assault awareness programs focused on violence against women and never men. Then he topped off that argument with pointing out that Columbia's sexual violence policy focused only on penetration and never addressed a man being "made to penetrate." No idea where he was going with that one.


  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,233 Senior Member
    ^ He was going with the argument that women were being treated differently than men. That's the point. And I am not so sure the theory of the case (that Columbia treated women differently than men) changed as much from complaint one to complaint two. I think the formulation of the claim changed in part because Wood said (IIRC) that you needed to have actual evidence of disparate treatment based on sex/gender to survive a 12(b) motion in a Title IX case, which for the obvious reasons meant that no such claims would survive to discovery. So they redrafted the allegations in a way to try and get by an obviously hostile judge. Turns out it would have likely been immaterial anyway given the Doe case, which as I said above I think had a ton to do with the settlement here.
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