SCAD students push petition to rename Clarence Thomas Center

Local News

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has stirred up memories about similar accusations against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

A Savannah College of Art and Design building is named in honor of the Savannah native, but some students want it changed.

“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],” explained Gianna Orecchio, a junior at SCAD.

It’s a sentiment others say they share.

“The fact that she remembered their laughs so clearly, that was the one thing that she remembered, it’s heartbreaking,” said Sage Lucero, SCAD Alumna.

Lucero says she sat with quiet anticipation while watching the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing. Now, after drawing parallels between Dr. Ford’s allegations and Anita Hill’s — she wants to rewrite history. 

“I don’t want young women to have to study in a building with his name on it,” Lucero said.

The building is the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation, named for the Supreme Court Justice who Hill accused of sexually harassing her while she worked for him.

Orecchio says she understands the accusations well. At 16 years old, she says she faced an uncomfortable, forceful situation in a back room at her workplace.

“I managed to get away. And I went to tell my boss what happened and she looked at me straight in the face and she told me that didn’t happen,” she said.

Orecchio is one of nearly 1,000 signatures on Sage’s petition to “Take A Sexual Predator’s Name Off of SCAD’s Building.” It’s a drastic measure Orecchio says is needed in desperate times. 

“I think women have much more of a voice now than they did in 1991,” she 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.”

SCAD officials have responded to the effort with a statement saying “We are aware of the petition and have reached out to the sponsor.”

News 3 will continue to follow the status of this petition and keep you updated.

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