Anita Hill to Speak at UNH to Commemorate Institute of Social Justice
Anita Hill to Speak at UNH to Commemorate Institute of Social Justice

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

Anita Hill, who made national headlines in 1991 when she testified before Congress that Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, had made sexually inappropriate comments toward her when he was her supervisor, will speak at UNH on Tuesday, March 5, at 2:30 p.m. in Dodds Hall Theater. The doors will close promptly at 2:15 p.m.

Hill, a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, will speak on the topic “Reimagining Equality.”

Anita Hill will speak on campus on Tuesday, March 5.

Tickets are required for the event and can be picked up from noon to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in Tracy Tamborra’s office (South Campus Hall 207) or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Leila Dutton’s office (South Campus Hall 215). No more than two tickets can be given to any one person.

The talk will commemorate the opening of UNH’s Institute of Social Justice, begun last year. The institute promotes political, economic and social justice on campus and in the surrounding community through research, teaching, service, campus and community programming, personal connections and policy development. Its members include students, faculty, staff and community partners.

The institute strives to cultivate a more inclusive, respectful and supportive campus and community, said Tamborra, institute co-director and assistant professor of criminal justice.

Hill’s testimony drew the attention of the public to sexual harassment and resulted in verbal attacks against her. Although Thomas was confirmed as a justice and still serves on the U.S. Supreme Court, Hill’s testimony called attention to workplace harassment and resulted in a law passed by Congress giving harassment victims the right to seek federal damage awards, back pay and reinstatement. Private companies also started training programs to deter sexual harassment.

“Anita Hill is one of the most relevant people to the study of social justice,” said Tamborra.  “Her work intersects race, sex and age and demonstrates how compounding factors affect an individual’s access to power. Her approach to social justice is multi-dimensional; she is not just an academic and scholar but has also confronted oppression and the power establishment. She is an individual who puts a sense of self and personal experience into her scholarship.”

Hill's landmark testimony and the resulting social and political changes are the subject of a documentary, Anita, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It was directed by Freida Mock, who said the 20th anniversary of Hill's testimony was the perfect time to "benchmark the event."

A graduate of the Yale Law School, Hill has noted that sexual harassment and abuse are issues for both men and women. She has been quoted as saying that the issue “did change not only where I worked, but it changed the entire nature of my work."

A frequent commentator on gender and race issues, Hill has appeared on “60 Minutes,” “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press.” She has been a speaker on the topic of commercial law as well as race and women's rights. She has contributed to many scholarly and legal publications in the areas of international commercial law, bankruptcy and civil rights.

She is the author of several books including her autobiography, Speaking Truth to Power, and a second book, Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home, which focuses on the sub-prime lending crisis that resulted in the foreclosure of many homes owned by African-Americans.

The talk is co-sponsored by the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Office of Intercultural Relations, Victimology Club, Legal Society, SCOPE, Criminal Justice Club, Alpha Tau and the Criminal Justice Human Services Living Learning Community.

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