Black History Month: Anita Hill to speak at Shea Auditorium

By:  Erin Schlosser – Copy Editor

Anita Hill, an attorney and social justice activist who brought the issue of sexual harassment to the national spotlight in 1993, will be a featured speaker at the 38th Distinguished Lecturer Series next Friday.

The lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Shea Auditorium. Tickets are free for William Paterson students, with student ID, and $25 for general admission.

Hill’s lecture, “Reimagining Equality: Inclusive Communities in Post-Obama America,” will speak on the current landscape of American politics and examine the issues of sexual harassment and assault. She will also address the inequality in gender and racial economic gaps.

The timing of Hill’s presentation seems fitting, after an election laden with claims of sexual misconduct. When the now infamous tape from “Access Hollywood”, featuring Donald Trump speaking lewdly about women, leaked in October, Hill weighed in through op-eds and discussion panels.

Hill graduated from Yale Law School in 1980. Then in 1981 she took a job at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights where she worked as an attorney-adviser to Clarence Thomas. When Thomas was offered a position as chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Hill moved to the EEOC as well, to serve as Thomas’s assistant.

In 1991, Thomas was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the Supreme Court. His nomination moved smoothly until the press released a report of an interview between the FBI and Hill. Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment while he was her supervisor at both the Department of Education and the EEOC. She was called to testify and her televised testimony brought the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace into America’s vanguard.

Throughout her career, Hill has received a number of awards and accolades. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award from the Ford Hall Forum in 2008. Hill’s story was the subject of a 2013 documentary, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power and in 2016, HBO released Confirmation, a film adaption of the court proceedings starring Kerry Washington. She has written two books, Speaking Truth to Power (1998) and Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (2011).

Tickets for Hill’s lecture can be purchased by calling the Shea Center Box Office at 973-720-2371 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. or purchased online at wp-presents.org.


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