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

Release Date:
2/25/2013 12:00 AM
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Anita Hill, features Anita Hill

Feb. 25, 2013

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- 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 the University of New Haven on Tuesday, March 5, at 2:30 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,” in the Dodds Hall Theater.

The talk will commemorate the opening of UNH’s Institute of Social Justice, begun last year. It is free and open to the public but tickets are required.  Tickets will be available at the door from 1:30 to 2 p.m.  The doors will close promptly at 2:15 p.m.

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, says Tracy 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 also 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 Dean's Office, 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.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico and California. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.