UH Law Center to host ‘fireside chat’ with Prof Anita Hill on March 26

Civil rights scholar to discuss #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and other issues as part of Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series

March 20, 2019 (HOUSTON) — Anita Hill, whose testimony before a senate committee alleging sexual harassment by a Supreme Court nominee predated the #MeToo movement by nearly three decades, will speak about today’s focus on sexual abuse and other issues affecting women March 26 at the University of Houston Law Center.

Hill, a professor at Brandeis University, attorney, author and civil and women’s rights activist, will sit down with UHLC Professor Michael A. Olivas in a “fireside chat” format as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker series. They will discuss a range of issues, including the #MeToo movement and how Title IX can best be used to protect victims of sexual assault and harassment on campus. A question and answer session with the audience will follow.

“I am delighted that Professor Hill will grace our Law Center campus with her presence and discuss her perspective on civil rights issues,” said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “She is a courageous pioneer whose experiences have taught the U.S. about issues of sexual harassment and abuse. Professor Hill will provide a unique voice to help teach us a way forward on issues of sexual harassment and abuse, and her presence will provide our students an example of an important historical role model.”

Hill is professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She teaches courses on gender, race, social policy and legal history.

Hill was thrust into the national spotlight in 1991 during the televised confirmation hearing for now-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She testified of repeated sexual harassment while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the EEOC. Thomas vehemently denied the allegation and termed the proceeding a "high-tech lynching for uppity blacks" by white liberals determined to keep a conservative black judge off the high court.

Fallout from the way Hill was treated by committee members is considered a factor in the jump in EEOC complaints filed the next year, the increased number of women elected to Congress in 1992, and the number of companies and institutions that started programs to deter harassment in the workplace.

“I have been privileged to know Professor Anita Hill since early in my teaching career, when she was teaching in Oklahoma,” said Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law and director of the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance at the Law Center. She remains as committed to the struggle as ever, and it was interesting to see how her stock rose all over again during the Justice Kavanaugh hearings, which rang so similarly as her own experience. And the convergence of the #MeToo movement has given her yet another platform for her to shine light on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.”

Hill earned a B.S. Degree from Oklahoma State University and a J.D. from Yale. She is the author and co-author of several books, including her latest, “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home,” as well as numerous articles.

The event, co-sponsored by Houston Public Media, will be from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., March 26, in Krost Hall at the University of Houston Law Center, 4604 Calhoun Road. Click here for more information and to register.

Media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184, cacriado@central.uh.edu; Elena Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-1125, ehawthor@central.uh.edu; John T. Kling, Communications Manager, 713-743-8298, jtkling@central.uh.edu; and John Brannen, Senior Writer, 713-743-3055, jtbranne@central.uh.edu.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 46,000 students.

About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 11 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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