Temple revokes Bill Cosby’s honorary degree

Bill Cosby speaks at a graduation ceremony in May 2013. The famed comedian and alumnus served on the Board of Trustees for 32 years. Andrew Thayer | TTN
Bill Cosby speaks at a graduation ceremony in May 2013. The famed comedian and alumnus served on the Board of Trustees for 32 years. Andrew Thayer | TTN

Temple has revoked Bill Cosby’s honorary degree, one day after the comedian and former university trustee was found guilty for drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple employee.

Cosby was awarded the honorary degree in 1991. On Thursday, a jury found him guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, in which he could face up to 30 years in prison.

The Board of Trustees accepted the university’s recommendation to rescind the degree on Friday, university spokesman Brandon Lausch wrote in a statement to The Temple News.

Cosby, a 1971 alumnus, has been a figurehead for Temple over the years. He regularly spoke at ceremonies like convocation and commencement, up through the 2014 convocation before more than 60 women came forward with sexual assault allegations against the American icon.

Several people reacted to Temple’s decision on social media and criticized Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick O’Connor for representing Cosby in the 2005 civil suit between Cosby and Andrea Constand. On Thursday, the university announced that O’Connor would recuse himself from any decision about Cosby’s honorary degree because of his involvement in the suit.

Several other universities, including Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon, revoked Cosby’s honorary degrees following the verdict on Thursday, the Inquirer reported.

Many regional schools have rescinded Cosby’s honorary degrees since allegations against Cosby came to light, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Swarthmore College and Haverford College. Many other national universities like Ohio State University and Boston University have also revoked his degree, the Inquirer reported.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ohio University had rescinded Cosby’s honorary degree. Ohio State University revoked the degree, and Ohio University has never awarded Cosby with an honorary degree.

Gillian McGoldrick
can be reached at gillian.mcgoldrick@temple.edu Or you can follow Gillian on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*