The legacy of comedian and actor Bill Cosby continues to crumble, as Brown University announced Monday that it would be revoking Cosby’s honorary degree, which he received back in 1985. Carly Ledbetter of The Huffington Post reported the development.
Cosby has been drowning in rape allegations for nearly a year amid accusations that he drugged and sexually assaulted at least 40 women over the past several decades, so this decision on Brown’s part was a long time coming. Cosby has also seen honorary degrees from Fordham and Marquette revoked, and NYU took his name off of its Future Filmmakers Workshop. Spelman College dropped an “endowed professorship” with Cosby a few months ago.
University President Christina Paxson elaborated on the decision in an email to the campus the same day.
“It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown and the qualities for which he was honored by the University in 1985,” Paxson said.
“The conduct that Mr. Cosby has acknowledged is wholly inconsistent with the behavior we expect of any individual associated with Brown,” Paxson added. “It is particularly troubling as our university community continues to confront the very real challenges of sexual violence on our campus and in society at large, and had it been known to the Fellows in 1985, an honorary degree … would not have been conferred.”
A faculty member said that this is the first time that Brown has revoked such a degree. Needless to say, it’s the right move.
For Brown to let Cosby keep his degree would not necessarily be considered supporting him and claiming he is innocent, but it’s in the same ballpark. Any and all entities associated with Cosby in any way, shape or form should distance themselves from him as much as possible during this time, and that is what has indeed happened for the most part.
This saga, however, is far from over. Brown wasn’t the first school to revoke one of Cosby’s many honorary degrees, and certainly won’t be the last.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY