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University says Cosby still a trustee, stays mum on allegations

Amid a recent surge in attention regarding allegations of sexual misconduct involving famed alumnus Bill Cosby, a Temple spokesperson would not comment on whether the comedian’s trusteeship is in jeopardy.

A university spokesman said Wednesday that the trusteeship of famed comedian and actor Bill Cosby has not been changed when asked about possible university response to a recent surge in media coverage of Cosby regarding allegations of sexual misconduct with women dating back to the 1960s, in addition to two more alleged victims coming forward against the Temple alumnus.

“Dr. Cosby remains a Temple trustee,” the spokesman said, declining to comment further.

Cosby, 77, has been accused by as many as 15 women of sexual misconduct. Cosby has never been charged with a crime in regard to the alleged incidents.

Coverage of the unproven accusations against the star of “The Cosby Show” resurfaced when social media buzzed about comedian Hannibal Buress’ rant on the topic during his Oct. 17 set at the Trocadero Theater on 10th and Arch streets.

“When you leave here, Google ‘Bill Cosby rape,’” Buress said. “That sh– has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’”

Former actress Barbara Bowman came forward after Buress’ comments gained attention, and wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post detailing her claims of abuse she experienced from Cosby.

Janice Dickinson, a model, alleged in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, published Wednesday, that Cosby had sexually assaulted her in 1982. She said that she tried to tell the story in her memoir but the publisher, HarperCollins, was pressured by Cosby’s lawyers to avoid discussing the actor.

During multiple interviews from recent weeks, Cosby has declined to address the recent attention regarding these claims of sexual assault. One of Cosby’s lawyers, Martin Singer, released a statement in response to Dickinson’s claims.

“Janice Dickinson’s story accusing Bill Cosby of rape is a lie,” Singer said. “There is a glaring contradiction between what she is claiming now for the first time and what she wrote in her own book and what she told the media back in 2002.”

One of the women who accused Cosby of drugging and subsequently molesting her was Andrea Constand, a former staff member of Temple’s basketball team. Constand later filed a civil suit against Cosby, which was settled for an undisclosed sum. In a recent interview, former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. told the Inquirer he believes Cosby was guilty of the allegations, but that there was not substantial evidence to win a conviction.

Amid the increased scrutiny surrounding Cosby, Netflix postponed the release of a Cosby comedy special that was scheduled for this month and NBC scrapped a new sitcom that was in development starring him. Yesterday, TV Land announced that it would no longer air reruns of “The Cosby Show.”

Many sets of minutes for the Board of Trustees, which are available online back to 1982, note the absences of trustees at public meetings of the general body. A review of the minutes available online found that for meetings where absences were noted, Cosby was absent at each meeting throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Cosby was reelected to a four-year term on the Board in October at the most recent general body meeting. He was not present, though trustee Robert Rovner spoke about Cosby for a few minutes, recalling the comedian’s time at Temple.

“Trustee Cosby was the Jackie Robinson of television, the first African American to be on a weekly show,” Rovner said before encouraging a round of applause from the trustees.

As of now, Cosby’s standup tour is continuing and he is scheduled for a show at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Florida tomorrow evening.

Joe Brandt can be reached at joseph.brandt@temple.edu.

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