Political Conversations @ IMSA: A closer look at the #MeToo Movement and The Kavanaugh Confirmation

GAs provide a place for organized discussions. Source: Pixabay.

On Thursday, October 11th,  students, faculty, and staff gathered in the “innovative space”  of IN2 to discuss the recent political events surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination into the US  Supreme Court. This event, curated by the President’s Office and BELLAs, was lead by Mr. Kearney. It summoned many attendees who in turn participated in a thought-provoking discussion about the future of our nation and our role as citizens within it.  

For readers unaware of the topic at hand, let me introduce to you Brett Kavanaugh, your new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court whom you can read more about here. 

Now, let’s get back to business.

The discussion (running little over an hour) covered many topics including Institutionalized Sexism, Credibility and Reputation, Hashtag Activism in relation to the #MeToo movement, Toxic Masculinity, and the future of civilian Trust within US Legal Systems.

While these are all enticing topics to delve into, I have decided to provide you with a brief overview of the main takeaways from the discussion.


Question 1: “Part of the Process is not what has happened but will happen in the future. What will be the ramifications of what just happened?”

(Answers provided by Mr. Kearney)

  • Some of it will fall away.
    • As many day to day happenings just “fall away,” Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh will most likely be “swept under the rug” over a period of time. It’s just the nature of politics.
  • Trust in the US Supreme Court will drop.
    • Kavanaugh was confirmed with 50 votes. (That is the smallest amount of votes to confirm any Supreme Court Justice in modern history. )
    • *Probable Example*  In future Supreme Court decisions where Kavanaugh provides a swing vote, there will be public and political skepticism about the candor of his vote.
  • Polarization within the Country will persist.
    • Political and Moral views will continue to strain unity within the United States.

Concepts & Topics

  • Allegations, Reputation, and Credibility
    • How does it relate to this case?
      • When Christine Blasey Ford brought forth allegations accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from the late 80’s, skeptics questioned her credibility.
      • She had no solid evidence of the event, therefore, her accusation could not be validated.                                              
  • Institutionalized Sexism
    • What is it?
      • A form of sexism or prejudice that has been “baked into” a system.
    • How does it relate to this case?
      • After Ford brought forth sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, her words and disposition were examined and essentially disregarded.
      • Kavanaugh, after being accused of such crimes against Ford, was still admitted into the Supreme Court.                      
  • Toxic Masculinity  and “Boys will be Boys”
    • What is it?
      • Boys will be Boys”
        • A phrase once used to provide an explanation for why some boys pursue insensible acts of assault against women and amongst each other.
    • How does it relate to this case?
      • Defenders of Kavanaugh justified his actions of sexual assault against Ford as a result of him “just being a boy’.                                                                                                           
  • Hashtag Activism and #MeToo
    • What is it?
      • #MeToo
        • A global movement against harassment and sexual assault first coined by Tarana Burke.
    • How does it relate to this case?
      • Many supporters of Ford used #MeToo as a platform to bring forth personal stories of sexual assault.


Lastly, I exchanged a few words with Mr. Kearny concerning Hashtag Activism.  

(JH): What are your opinions on Hashtag Activism? Do you find it effective?

(PK): It works on a very slow incremental level, but in some ways is very problematic. You feel as though you did something because you put a hashtag on your Facebook or Twitter feed, but have you really done something? In that sense, it doesn’t work. What it has done, in some instances, has perhaps called people to action when they don’t know about a topic. Hashtag Activism really helps out when its used for someone “less known.”  However, the Kavanaugh case was televised, everyone in America knew it was happening.

About the Author

Jemea Hilmara
Jemea Hilmara is a Senior who resides in 02! She serves as the Vice President on BSU board, secretary of IMSA Student Productions and as a staff writer for IMSA's Acronym! Her hometown is Chicago, Illinois and she loves visual art.

2 Comments on "Political Conversations @ IMSA: A closer look at the #MeToo Movement and The Kavanaugh Confirmation"

  1. What I witnessed at the Kavanaugh forum was mass hysteria, the opposite of an “open discussion”. Social studies teacher Dr. Patrick Kearny took charge on stage and proclaimed, “You cannot defend Kavanaugh’s actions by saying, ‘Boys will be boys.’ Boys cannot be boys and disrespect women!”

    He continued on that Kavanaugh had perjured about sexually assaulting Dr. Ford and drinking to excess in high school, rendering him unfit for the Supreme Court. Kearney then opined about “religious, conservative, Bible-belted Republicans.”

    Almost all the attendees voiced solidarity for Ford. Two audience members asked about the lack of corroboration, evidence, and due process. They were shut down by IMSA faculty members, insisting that Ford’s words and mannerisms “seemed” authentic. Her testimony, with the weight of the #MeToo movement, was deemed too significant to be scrutinized and must be accepted.

    The “female empowerment” narrative took top priority. Therefore, Kearney declared, “The truth of Ford’s accusation is irrelevant!” In life, especially here at our IMSA, a math, science and evidence-based academy, truth is the anchor for inquiry, knowledge and action.

    The IMSA grown ups on stage lost their moral bearings. They should have read or recalled the lessons from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird”: presumed innocence, due process, and standing up against groupthink. Sadly missing amongst the IMSA leaders was an Atticus Finch to seek truth.

  2. It’s been almost two months since Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Several women accusers have recanted their accusations against Kavanaugh. Write an update from the grown ups , in particular Dr. Patrick Kearny, proclaiming to always believe #MeToo accusers and that Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve due process. Ask them about mob mentality, critical thinking, and presumption of innocence. Also inquire if they read “To Kill a Mockingbird” yet.

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