The Columbia University student targeted by a mattress-carrying protester filed a lawsuit Thursday against the school, arguing that it failed to shield him from harassment even though police and campus authorities refused to pursue rape charges against him.
In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, Jean-Paul Nungesser said the school engaged in gender bias by allowing him to be subjected to a hostile and intimidating learning environment.
The hostile environment was created, the lawsuit says, by the ongoing protest of fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, also known as the “mattress girl.”
Mr. Nungesser, a German citizen, said the ensuing publicity has hurt his chances of remaining in the U.S., given that his job prospects have been hurt by the publicity surrounding the case.
The students engaged in sexual activity in August 2012, but Mr. Nungesser says the encounter was consensual, while Ms. Sulkowicz says she was raped.
A university tribunal ultimately found Mr. Nungesser not responsible, after which Ms. Sulkowicz launched her highly publicized protest.
She was invited by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, to attend this year’s State of the Union address for her “Carry the Weight” campaign, which has been emulated at other campuses nationwide.
A university spokesman declined comment, according to the Associated Press.