As part of the Carry That Weight movement, students, staff and faculty were encouraged to carry a mattress, pillow, or sheets throughout the day on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Delaney Heard, ’17, Valerie Anthos, ’15, Jesikah Leeper, ’16, and Matthew Yen, ’15, headed organizing the event. The movement seeks to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence by standing in solidarity for the cause.
The movement was started by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia University, who was raped two years ago in her dorm room at Columbia. Her alleged rapist is still on campus, despite having three separate women accuse him of sexual assault.
The mattress walk was organized by multiple clubs on campus, including the Sojourners Christian Fellowship and Allegheny Reproductive Health Coalition. Multiple mattress were set up in buildings across campus, including the Pelletier Library, Brooks Dining Hall and Quigley, to spread awareness. About 30 students participated in the Mattress Walk starting at the Campus Center at 6 p.m.
At 9 p.m. in the Campus Center, there was a forum discussion about how sexual assault is handled at Allegheny. Participants talked about accessibility to Title IV information on Allegheny’s website, revitalizing the Women’s Center in Walker Hall and the availability of faculty members such as Katie Pope, Allegheny’s Title IX coordinator, and Sue Gaylor, executive vice president.
“We believe that Allegheny is a place where positive change can happen, and so for us, organizing this event was a clear way to promote awareness of sexual assault and rape culture at Allegheny and in the nation and to develop a plan of action for Allegheny, to work to end sexual assault and rape culture on our campus,” said Yen.