University of Florida students protest arrival of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 3:57 PM EST
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A Supreme Court Justice with previous sexual harassment allegations is here teaching at the University of Florida and some students are protesting his arrival.

We Believe Survivors Founder Sloane Henry said, "Parents should be afraid to send their 18-year-old freshman into a place where there is a one in three chance that they will become a victim of sexual violence."

We Believe Survivors Founder Sloane Henry is referring to the university's 2019 sexual assault and misconduct survey which found that 30.1 percent of undergraduate women at u-f have experienced non-consensual sexual contact.

This was a key point made at the protest over the arrival of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

UF Law Student Dalia Figueredo said, "We think that the first step toward changing that culture is creating a culture where survivors know that they will be believed and that their abusers will actually face consequences and that they wont be touted around because they are prestigious and powerful."

Protesters played the opening statement of the woman who accused Justice Thomas of sexual harassment, Anita Hill, on a projector in the common area of their college.

We reached out to the university today but have not received a response. In a previous statement, UF said, "The course presents a rare opportunity for our students to learn from a clerk and a justice of our nation's highest court."

"It's a complicated feeling. Having a Supreme Court Justice at your law school is supposed to be a really great honor and we don't deny that there may be some educational value in having him here teaching a course," Figueredo said. "But, what we have wanted from the beginning in starting this organization is an acknowledgment that this is a complicated situation, that Justice Thomas has been credibly accused of being a sexual harasser and he's never faced any accountability for that."

Students have told me today's protest is not about disrespecting Justice Thomas but instead standing in solidarity with all of the survivors on campus.