clarence

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the UF Levin College of Law on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.

More than an hour of discussion was not enough time to talk about what survivors wanted to say. 

The UF Women’s Student Association and UF Law Believes Survivors discussed victim blaming Wednesday night, specifically discussing Anita Hill’s testimony. 

UF Levin College of Law declined to comment when asked why Clarence Thomas was coming to teach despite the controversy.

In October 1991, Hill had a three-day hearing where she accused Thomas of sexually harassing her before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, according to the New York Times. He denied her claims and called the hearings a “high-tech lynching.”

The UF law invited Thomas to teach at UF next week. The event was aimed to bring people together to discuss victim blaming and Hills’ testimony because students felt the university did not care about sexual harassment, said Ana Shaw, a 19-year-old exploratory sophomore and assistant program director for the Women’s Student Association.

“It basically speaks the fact that a lot of times this university seems to be overlooking the issues of sexual assault and harassment on campus,” Shaw said. 

Jose Pinski, a 20-year-old biology sophomore, was at the event and said he agreed with their perspective and was interested in understanding a woman’s viewpoint on these topics.

Thomas has been coming to UF law to teach courses on property and is going to be teaching a course on religious clauses. However, since the #MeToo movement, students were surprised when he was welcomed back onto campus.

Jarrod Rodriguez, a 20-year-old political science junior, said he is happy Thomas is teaching at UF law.

“It’s a great opportunity for UF students to hear from someone from the Supreme Court,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez said the allegations Hill made against Thomas are no longer really relevant, and they were just accusations. Thomas has proven to have made himself a respected member of the Supreme Court, he said. 

Some students may not believe it’s a big deal that Thomas is teaching because he’s taught at UF before, but times are changing, said Dalia Figueredo, a 23-year-old UF law student from UF Law Believes Survivors said.

“We knew that there was probably no chance that he was going to be uninvited,” she said. “But keeping that in mind, we said okay, we’re not going to make it easy for them.”

Contact Anna Wilder at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @anna_wilderr.