With Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, students at a Georgia college have been moved to protest their campus’ homage to another justice accused of sexual abuse.
Although Justice Clarence Thomas is a Savannah native, many Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students would prefer not to learn in a building named in his honor, so they’ve launched the “Take A Sexual Predator’s Name Off of SCAD’s Building” petition.
“As a woman who was told that I wasn’t believed, that I was mistaken on what happened to me five minutes after I said something, I can’t in my right mind saying that I don’t believe [Dr. Christine Blasey Ford],” SCAD junior Gianna Orecchio said when discussing how the Kavanaugh nomination was so disturbing.
SCAD alumna Sage Lucero feels the same way.
“The fact that she remembered their laughs so clearly, that was the one thing that she remembered, it’s heartbreaking,” she told WSAV. “I don’t want young women to have to study in a building with his name on it.”
In the summer of 1991, Thomas was rumored to have been sexually harassing one or more women who had worked with him. One of his alleged victims was Anita Hill, who worked with Thomas at the Department of Education as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When Hill came forward with her allegations, Republicans targeted the attorney and Thomas was still confirmed as a justice.
“I think women have much more of a voice now than they did in 1991,” Orecchio said. “And I think more women want to speak up about things like this. If you don’t speak up there’s going to be no change.”
While history repeated itself through Kavanaugh’s confirmation, removing Thomas’ name will serve as a small reminder that survivors won’t be easily silenced. The petition has nearly all of its requested 2,500 signatures.
SCAD officials have confirmed their knowledge of the call to action, telling WSAV “we are aware of the petition and have reached out to the sponsor.”