Hold accused honorees accountable

The Temple News calls on the university to do what other prominent institutions are doing, and hold accused honorees accountable.

Matt Lauer, a former co-host of NBC’s “Today,” has been added to the growing list of high-profile men in the media to be fired for sexual misconduct allegations — including former Board Member of the Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein and former CBS and PBS host Charlie Rose.

He is also the latest addition to Temple’s list of honorees and award recipients with a history of sexual misconduct allegations, joining 1971 alumnus Bill Cosby and 1961 alumnus Bill Conlin.

It is disappointing to learn that these household names in journalism and entertainment have been accused of sexual misconduct, but it is essential that powerful men are held accountable for the harm they’ve caused. Temple is not exempt from this responsibility.

The Temple News already called for the university to revoke Cosby’s honorary degree, first when he was initially accused, and again when he announced a town hall campaign to educate young men on how to avoid sexual assault accusations. We maintain that argument, and we think Lauer’s and Conlin’s names should be added to the list of people demoted by the university.

How can any survivors of sexual assault and harassment feel safe on Main Campus when the university maintains honors and awards given to the accused?

Lauer was fired from NBC after a female colleague reported his inappropriate behavior during their coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and its continuation in the workplace after the games.

Last Wednesday, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack wrote in a memo to NBC staff, “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

If NBC can hold itself accountable despite any bad press it may receive after reports of sexual assault, then so can the university.

The Temple News commends the bravery of the survivors of sexual assault and harassment who have come forward to share their stories and report their offenders. We also applaud NBC for its transparency while handling allegations against a familiar face of the news network’s most profitable franchise.

And from the university, we ask for the same transparency and action against those accused of sexual misconduct.

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