Anita Hill Speaks at Ohio University on Sexual Harassment

In front of a packed house at Templeton Memorial Auditorium Monday night, Anita Hill spoke about the issue of sexual harassment, Rape Culture on college campuses, her personal experiences and our current political climate. 

Hill, 62, is currently a professor teaching social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. She is also on the faculty of the Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

In the 1990s, Hill appeared on the national stage when she accused current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances. Hill later became a sought-after speaker across the country for women’s groups and universities.

During her talk at Ohio University, she applauded both the university and the Student Senate for their handling of the sexual misconduct that has been reported on campus this year.

“We haven’t learned our lesson yet, but we should suspend cynicism,” Hill explained. She continued by saying that she has always remained an optimist even at times where she felt bogged down by the world around her.

Hill’s visit to OU comes during a tumultuous time on campus where there have been multiple reports of sexual misconduct by students and college professors. Before the start of the 2018 Fall semester alone there were 16 reports of sexual assault filed to the Campus and Athens police.

These cases would later add up with sexual harassment charges being filed by OU graduate students against Andrew Escobedo in November and Yusuf Kalyango in September of 2018. 

“I’m naturally cynical,” commented Imani Evans, a peer mentor with the Office of Multicultural Access and Retention. “However, I like how she talked about forming the proper infrastructure to deal with these issues and proper repercussions.”

Hill’s talk had an impact on the hundreds of people that were in attendance. After a spirited Q&A session, Hill encouraged everyone in the audience to continue to talk about these issues with family and friends.

“We will solve this problem when we realize we need to be effective at communicating in every aspect of our lives,” Evans said. “This is not just a woman’s issue. Sexual assault on campus needs to be issue for all of us.”

Photo by: Keagan Giordano

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