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Kavanaugh debate leads Georgia college students to start petition to rename Clarence Thomas Center
US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas sits for an official photo with other members of the US Supreme Court in the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, June 1, 2017. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Kavanaugh debate leads Georgia college students to start petition to rename Clarence Thomas Center

The Brett Kavanaugh hearings have re-opened a debate about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his confirmation hearing in 1991, according to published reports.

Thomas was investigated by the FBI after attorney Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment.

What is happening?

Now, some students at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, are calling for the renaming of the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation.

A petition on change.org called “Take A Sexual Predator’s Name Off of SCAD’s Building” and had more than 1,100 signatures Sunday.

The Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation on the campus was formerly a convent and Thomas had served there as an altar boy, WJCL-TV reported.

The building was named after him in 2010, according to the report.

Sage Lucero, who graduated from SCAD, started the petition. She told the TV station she was shocked when she learned the history of the Clarence Thomas Center.

“I don’t want any other female who has hopes and dreams to have to walk through the doors of that building. They shouldn’t have to be subjugated to that toxic feeling,” Lucero said.

Sarah Boussey, a senior at the college who signed the petition, said the name of the building sends the wrong message.

“By naming a building after Clarence Thomas makes it feel as though sexual assault in the workplace isn’t taken seriously...In this current political climate with what’s going on with Kavanugh, something needs to change,” Boussey told the TV station.

Andrew Paynter, a senior at the college, said he’s neutral about he idea of renaming the building. But he took issue with the wording on the petition.

“Their bold claims seem to be too harmful,” Paynter told WJCL. “In our society, you just can’t accuse people of things."

What is the background?

When Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, Anita Hill came forward and alleged he had sexually harassed her while she was his employee. Thomas denied the allegations and faced a series of hearings. The Senate eventually voted 52-48 to confirm Thomas to the Supreme Court.

Thomas was viewed as a justice who would likely lean conservative on decisions involving issues such as Affirmative Action and abortion, according to the George Mason University website.

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