Attorney/activist Anita Hill to speak on gender and the future of the Court

Attorney/activist Anita Hill to speak on gender and the future of the Court

image: Anita Hill Anita Hill, the attorney/educator who came to prominence during Justice Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings, will speak on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. as part of Open VISIONS Forum, a program of University College at Fairfield University. The talk, entitled "Speaking Truth to Power," * will take place at the University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Hill's appearance will be co-sponsored by the Fairfield University Student Association and the University's Center for Multicultural Relations. It is funded in part by the Patrick J. Waide Jr. Fund for Ethics and Public Policy.

Born in 1956, Hill graduated from Yale University Law School and worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 1980s before choosing to teach law at the University of Oklahoma.

During Senate hearings televised live in 1991, she became a household name when she made graphic allegations of sexual harassment against Thomas, then her former boss at the EEOC. On Oct. 11, 1991, Hill testified that Thomas made unwelcome sexual advances while he was her supervisor. Thomas was confirmed and Hill's testimony brought the issue of sexual harassment to more widespread public attention, in some ways changing the way women and men interacted in the workplace.

In 1997, "Speaking Truth to Power," Hill's memoir/analysis of her involvement in the Thomas hearings, was published.

"Why was it important to come forward? I felt that he showed a personal indifference to the issue in his own behavior," she told CNN in 2005. "But more importantly I thought it showed how he dealt with issues of power generally and his use of power - in terms of intimidating me, and as it turns out, other women on his staff."

Hill met Thomas a decade before the hearings and was his assistant at the U.S. Department of Education before following him to a job at the EEOC. During a two-year period there, she testified he frequently asked her out on dates, talked about pornography and made suggestive remarks.

For three days, Hill, Thomas and their various supporters testified on the charges, which Thomas categorically denied. Two days later, the Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Thomas.

Hill left the EEOC in 1983 for a career in education and she now teaches law, social policy and women's studies at Brandeis University. Though she usually stays out of the limelight, she recognizes her continuing legacy. In her memoir, she says her students are her inspiration.

"They deserve a better society and so that is what motivates me and I think that I can be a part of creating that and having (been) given that chance, I don't want to blow it," she writes.

Tickets are $28, $23.50 for senior citizens. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit

* Lecture title changed to "Gender and the Future of the Court"

Posted On: 01-26-2006 10:01 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 146