Anita Hill receives honorary degree from Rutgers–Camden

Hill asked grads to commit to social justice.

David Madden
May 17, 2018 - 1:02 pm
Anita Hill

Rutgers University-Camden


CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Some 150 graduates of the Rutgers-Camden Law School heard from a woman who symbolized the problem of sexual harassment for women in the 1990s. 

Anita Hill continues her fight for protections in the workplace to this day.

She told the class of 2018 that they enter a world of uncertainty, but one they can change with a commitment to help others who are not as fortunate as they may be.

"I want you to promise me," she said, "and your classmates that you will make a commitment to social justice part of whatever work or careers you enter. And you can do that. It doesn't have to be all of your career but there's always something that you can do."

Her testimony at confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are the stuff of legend. 

Hill credited slave abolitionist Harriet Tubman as a role model she used during that struggle, and pointed to the #MeToo movement as something that has to go beyond social media.

"We will need to see legislation passed that puts safety of individuals first, that makes clear the right to live and work and be educated in safe environments," she continued. 

Others said they'll consider Hill's call at a later point in life.

Amelia Vangelow from Rochester, New York, plans to join her fiance in Philadelphia and practice immigration law. 

"Just witnessing how immigrants have been scapegoated for problems that have nothing to do with them. I just want to help them move forward," she said.

"She seemed to have a very big public interest kind of message," said graduate Khushbu Salanki of South Brunswick. "Give back to your community; social justice stuff. I thought that was very important."

Having already worked two summers in community projects, Salanki plans to continue that commitment on the professional level.