Day of action gains attention
Students at universities across the country are organizing a day of action to bring attention to sexual assault on college campuses through Facebook.
On Oct. 29, participating students will carry around pillows and mattresses in solidarity with Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz, who has been carrying her mattress around Columbia’s campus as part of a performance art piece, and will continue to do so until her rapist is no longer allowed to attend the university.
The mission of the national day of action is “to lift the burden of sexual violence from the shoulders of survivors—to carry the weight together,” according to its Facebook event.
The event is named after Sulkowicz’s performance art piece, “Carry That Weight.” The Facebook event had nearly 5,000 attendees from colleges across the country as of press time.
At Brandeis, there has been no announcement of an organized event, though many individuals said that they plan to participate independently. Among them are Ruthann Hewett ’16, Rebecca Holman ’17 and Aynsley O’Neill ’18.
In an interview with the Justice, Hewett said that she decided to participate because, “[I] just really liked the idea of it [Emma Sulkowicz’s piece], and I thought it would be nice if there were a way that other people could participate too because it seemed like such an isolated activity.”
Holman said in an interview with the Justice that she decided to take part in the event “mostly because I feel like it’s very important to show support for these kinds of things, especially on college campuses.”
Holman said that she is hoping that the sheer number of individuals who support survivors of sexual assault and are taking action forces the administration to start “to take notice of the fact that the student body is not okay with the way they’ve been handling cases of sexual assault and make changes to it.”
O’Neill said in an interview with the Justice that she hopes “that [the event] will bring attention to the lack of punishment given to assaulters and rapists on campuses because assault and rape happens on every campus everywhere, even in a great place like Brandeis, it does happen.”
The event’s Facebook page lists “colleges and universities across the country” as the event’s location and notes that if participants are unable to carry a mattress, they may carry a pillow throughout the day as a symbol of their support.
“I would just like to say, as a Brandeis student, I know Brandeis has been at the forefront of many political and social activism and protests and things, and I know that at Brandeis, we’re really passionate about activism and social justice, and I hope that the whole campus can start thinking about this [sexual assault] and open up a discussion where it becomes important in our minds,” O’Neill said.