University Faculty Senate members passed a motion Friday calling for President Neil Theobald and the Board of Trustees to withdraw Bill Cosby’s honorary degree.
Temple Association of University Professionals President Art Hochner told The Temple News Wednesday the motion was filed and passed after faculty members learned about a prior deposition released in which Cosby said he had sex with several women he had given drugs to.
Hochner added another purpose for the motion was to criticize Chairman of the Board Patrick O’Connor for representing Cosby in a case involving the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former university employee.
“The motion of the senate was to condemn Cosby and chairman O’Connor because O’Connor was representing Cosby in the legal case and he was there when the deposition was made, he knew what Cosby had done,” Hochner said.
A university spokesman told The Temple News Wednesday President Theobald can not rescind an honorary degree, as all degrees are granted through the Board of Trustees. He added that less than 40 faculty members attended the meeting Friday. Hochner said he didn’t know the exact count, but that less than 100 people were present.
The motion, emailed to The Temple News, “condemns” both Cosby and O’Connor for their actions, and calls for President Theobald and the board to “quickly withdraw Cosby’s honorary degree.”
Marina Angel, a law professor who has taught at Temple for nearly 40 years, drafted the motion. She said she was part of creating the university’s first Anti-Sexual Assault Policy in 1992, and teaches courses regarding case law involving sexual assault and harassment.
Angel said the vote on her motion had been delayed several times during the fall semester, and that Temple needs to act soon, before the Constand case moves to court in Montgomery County next month.
“If Temple doesn’t get ahead of this, O’Connor and Temple are going to look like s—-,” she told The Temple News.
Angel also wrote an article to be published in the next edition of the Faculty Herald, the university’s official publication for faculty members. The article, emailed Wednesday to The Temple News, details why Cosby’s degree should be revoked, and why O’Connor should step down as Chairman.
The article cites that more than 15 colleges and universities have revoked honorary degrees from Cosby, and the university failed to investigate when Constand first filed charges against Cosby in 2005.
“Temple University’s Board of Trustees must act quickly to disassociate Temple University from Cosby by revoking Cosby’s Temple University Honorary Doctorate and by having his lawyer, the Chair of Temple University’s Board of Trustees, Patrick O’Connor of Cozen O’Connor, step down,” Angel wrote.
Steve Bohnel and Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.