Disgraced comedian Bill Cosby has had yet another honorary degree rescinded. Brown University has stripped Cosby of his honorary degree. Brown is the third university to remove honorary degrees awarded to Cosby. Cosby, who starred in the groundbreaking, family-friendly comedy The Cosby Show, has been accused of drugging and raping up to 50 women over several decades. He has yet to be charged.
Brown University President Christina Paxson made the announcement in an email sent to the university community.
“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,” President Christina Paxson wrote, according to college paper, The Brown Daily Herald.
The rape allegations have caused several schools to turn their backs on Cosby. Fordham University and Markham University have both rescinded awards given to him. And Central State University, Temple University and Spelman College have all distanced themselves from him. Boston’s Berklee College of Music and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Cosby’s alma mater, have dropped his name from programs.
Cosby, who has donated millions to various schools, has received up to 17 honorary degrees from colleges. He has also received several other humanitarian awards such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, given to him by President George W. Bush, and the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, presented to him by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Victim’s rights groups and some legislators have called for Cosby’s Medal of Freedom to be revoked, however, President Barack Obama said there was no mechanism for doing this. Angela Rose, executive director of the victims’ group Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE,) organized an online petition calling for the removal of Cosby’s presidential honor.
“The Medal of Freedom embodies our nation’s values. Allowing Cosby to maintain this coveted symbol suggests that we as a society support coercive sexual behavior,” said Rose in an NBC News article. “Revoking the medal will send a powerful message to America’s youth about the critical importance of consent, which is a freely given, enthusiastic, verbal and sober ‘yes,’ not the absence of a ‘no.’”