Flickr/Mike Steele

A former Columbia University student who had been accused of rape has sued the school for a second time over its decision to allow his accuser to carry a mattress around campus in protest after he had been cleared of the allegations.

The lawsuit filed on Monday by Paul Nungesser came six weeks after U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan threw out an earlier version. The judge said Nungesser failed to show that Columbia discriminated against him based on his gender.

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Emma Sulkowicz had accused Nungesser of raping her on campus in August 2012, while Nungesser claimed the encounter was consensual. He was never charged with a crime, and graduated from the Ivy League school in New York last year.


When the university determined he should not be disciplined, Sulkowicz protested the decision by carrying a mattress everywhere she went as part of her senior thesis, drawing international headlines.

Nungesser's amended lawsuit again asserts that Columbia violated Title IX, which prohibits schools that receive federal funding from engaging in gender discrimination. He said the school discriminated against him by permitting Sulkowicz to protest and by taking other actions that created a "hostile environment."

The new lawsuit contains additional allegations, including claims that the school's current policy regarding gender-based misconduct excludes the possibility of male victims and female perpetrators. Sulkowicz, it said, victimized Nungesser by attempting to get him expelled despite his innocence.

The lawsuit also adds two faculty members as defendants, arguing they supported Sulkowicz's artwork and protests naming Nungesser as a rapist. Sulkowicz is not named as a defendant.

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Columbia, its president Lee Bollinger and Sulkowicz's thesis adviser remain defendants in the case.

A Columbia spokesman declined to comment on Monday.

In a statement, Nungesser's parents said they had heard from friends, relatives and even strangers across the country who said they "wish that Paul eventually finds justice."

A number of male students have filed lawsuits against schools in recent years claiming Title IX violations based on their handling of sexual assault accusations.

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