Dr. Christina Blasey Ford has been nominated for a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Distinguished Alumna Award for “speaking truth to power” by going public with sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“What Dr. Blasey Ford did on September 27, 2018 was something that was extraordinary in how ordinary it was: she told the truth about a sexual assault she experienced when she was fifteen years old at the hands of Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” wrote UNC English professor Dr. Jennifer Ho in the letter nominating Ford, speaking about the California professor’s testimony last month in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford, who graduated from UNC with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1988, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party when the two were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations against him.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the committee, prompting a weeklong FBI investigation and hundreds of activist protesters on Capitol Hill before the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh by a 50-48 vote Saturday afternoon.
“Dr. Blasey Ford giving her testimony, speaking truth to power, was an inspiration for so many of us,” Ho wrote. “Her accomplishment is to be an alumna of integrity, who despite great personal cost to herself and her family told her story of her sexual assault and emboldened others to also find the courage to speak out against injustice.”
Comments from Ho on the letter indicated that after signatures on the letter were maliciously deleted, signatures supporting the letter could be submitted through a secure form until midnight on October 13.
Ho told CNN that when she first posted the letter Friday morning, she got about 180 signatures before she disabled public editing because of the trolling. Since putting up the form, she has received over 2,400 submitted signatures, though some – like “Donald Trump” and several “Christine Fords” – are obviously fake.
She has also received at least two dozen pieces of hate mail and a call to the school chancellor urging her firing.
“During her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, (Ford) spoke about how her first few years of college were difficult,” Ho told CNN. “So as a University of North Carolina professor, it was a reminder that I have students in the classroom who could be really struggling with things besides my course material.”
Ho said she won’t have time to sort through and remove the fake names, so she intends to send the results to the nomination committee as is. “I think it’s important for them to see in real time how this unfolded, that this has touched a nerve,” she added.
“I did this because I believe she told the truth,” Ho said. “In another life, Blasey Ford could have shared this information with one of her faculty.”
“I did this for the students,” she added.
According to the UNC awards web page, nominees must have made “an outstanding contribution to humanity in any walk of life” and must be nominated by October 15.