Anita Hill Draws Crowd At University Of Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a timely turn of events, Anita Hill spoke to a crowd at the University of Utah Wednesday night.
Hill, whose sexual harassment allegations against then-nominee U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991 made her a national figure, said the same things are at stake 27 years later as the Senate considers Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the high court.
“For me, the integrity of the court was the issue,” Hill said.
A large crowd gathered outside of the Alumni House. The line, more than 1,000 people deep, extended around the building and onto campus.
The room where Hill spoke only held 600 people. Hundreds were turned away.
“I am so disappointed. I want to hear her voice,” Christine Clark told KSL-5TV. “I resonate with Anita Hill. I feel like I’m a victim as well of misogyny and sexism, of an extreme patriarchal social culture in which I was raised here in Salt Lake.”
Christine Clark watched the Senate Hearing between Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Hill, then a University of Oklahoma law professor, said she offered her evidence of Thomas’ character and “lack of fitness” for the lifetime appointment knowing he would hear sexual harassment cases as a justice.
Hill’s speech came on the eve of Christine Blasey Ford testifying Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers in 1982. Two other women have accused the appellate court judge of sexual misconduct, but were not called to testify.
“They absolutely should allow the FBI to investigate these claims,” Clark said.
“If there are accusations that a person has violated a woman’s body or her rights or her space, that person should not be sitting as an authority for other women and other people in this country,” University of Utah student, Grace Mason said. “One woman is too many… let alone three.”
Hill found herself in a similar situation to Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Ford, 27 years ago, though she declined to offer any advice for Ford.
“Every situation is individual,” she said.
In 1991, Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her in two government jobs. She testified before the Judiciary Committee for eight hours before the panel, and ultimately the full Senate, confirmed Thomas.
Hill said the committee wasn’t really interested in what she had to say, but in affirming what they had already set out to do.
“They relied on misogynist tropes to support their position,” she said, naming Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, among those senators, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd.
“He will be gone soon, I hear,” Hill said, turning the boos to cheers.
The retiring Hatch served as Republicans’ designated questioner in the Thomas hearings. He went on record in 1991 saying he had no doubt special interest groups coached Hill and that she lied about sexual harassment by Thomas.
Hatch has again played a prominent role in the latest confirmation hearings. He has said Ford is “mistaken” about what happened and he believes Kavanaugh is “a very strong, decent man.”
“Our own senator was there. He denigrated Anita Hill in public. We watched it play out on our televisions in 1991. And they are set to do the exact same thing to Dr. Ford. It’s criminal,” Clark said.
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