Students "Feel Unsafe" - Start Petition To Rename 'Clarence Thomas' Building

Authored by Zachary Petrizzo via Campus Reform,

Change.org petition calls for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia to remove the name of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a Savannah area native, from one of the school’s buildings because it alleges he is a "sexual predator."

Sage Lucero, a 2018 SCAD graduate, started the petition, titled, “Take A Sexual Predator’s Name Off of SCAD’s Building,” which calls on the school to rename the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation.

During a phone interview with Campus Reform, Lucero said the petition is a way “to really start a conversation around the way in which we talk about wom[e]n... and the way in which we advocate for women's rights and diversity.”

Lucero added that the petition was “not so much [about] politics but more so about wom[e]n." Not only was the goal to remove Thomas' name from the building, but "even more so to start that conversation regarding the bigger issue here."

“It's a small building that most people don't go to," Lucero said. “Everyone who goes to the university mostly is unaware that the name of the building had the namesake of him [Justice Clarence Thomas].”

Lucero also told Campus Reform that “many of the students feel unsafe about the building” name.  

Lucero writes on the Change.org petition description that until the recent controversy involving decades-old sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, she "wasn't aware" of the fact that a building on the school's campus bore Thomas' name.

"The case between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill in 1991 was extremely similar to what is happening to Dr. Ford today. When it was time for Thomas to become an associate justice of the supreme court, Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, came forward with accusations that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her," Lucero writes. 

"The same situation is happening before our eyes today with Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. When will we learn that a victim’s trauma should outweigh politics? For women like Dr. Ford, and Anita Hill to come forward and speak out about what happened to them is extremely traumatic. For someone to not believe a victim who remembers sheer details such as laughter and has gone through therapy because of it is honestly disgraceful," Lucero continues.

Lucero told Campus Reform that the university reached out to her in early October. She said that one of the presidents of the school said they were “basically trying to get my opinion and more so listen.”

"It’s utterly disgraceful to me that I attended a school where a building was named after a sexual predator. And not just any sexual predator, one who wrongfully won against a woman’s word," Lucero concludes in the petition description.

At the time of publication of this article, the petition had accumulated more than 2,100 signatures. The current enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students at SCAD is more than 14,000 students.

"Please sign this petition to convince Savannah College of Art and Design and Paula S. Wallace to rename Clarence Thomas Center for Historic [sic] Preservation after Anita Hill," Lucero implores readers of the site, describing Hill as "a woman who stood up for herself despite being denied of true justice."

The Savannah College of Art and Design did not respond to requests for comment from Campus Reform. However, in a statement to WSAV-TV, a spokesperson for the college said, "We are aware of the petition and have reached out to the sponsor."