Singer and songwriter Stephanie Mills stood in support of her friend, actress and Howard University’s newly appointed dean Phylicia Rashad, on July 3 after the university’s students and alumni called for her firing following her celebratory tweet about Bill Cosby’s overturned sexual assault conviction.
The initial Instagram post comes days following Rashad’s issued apology. The 73-year-old stated that her post wasn’t “intended to be insensitive” to those who are survivors of sexual assault after enduring massive backlash from the media and the public. The tweet read, “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Immediately following that statement, Howard University students and alumni called for Rashad to be fired from her dean position of the College of Fine Arts, to which she was appointed in May.
In her caption, Mills questioned Howard University’s moral consistency if it is considering terminating Rashad for her comments on Cosby’s release. She said if Rashad has crossed a line with her Cosby comments the university should give back the millions Cosby donated to the institution.
“I love you, @phyliciarashad ❤️❤️❤️. If it’s true that Howard University wants to terminate her Position because they feel her comments about Mr. Cosby were insensitive, then they should give back the millions of dollars that he donated to the university.”
Despite Cosby being awarded an honorary degree from Howard University in 1989, it is uncertain how much he did donate to the HBCU prior to his 2018 conviction.
Cosby, was initially given a three-to-10 year sentence for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004, was released from prison on June 30 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction because of his previous standing non-prosecution agreement with former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor.
Upon Cosby’s release after serving almost three years in prison, Rashad shared in a now-deleted tweet, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected.”
As Mills’ upload began making its rounds on social media blogs many fans expressed how they agreed with the “A Rush on Me” vocalist’s stance in giving back the money to Cosby if Rashad were to be terminated.
“If ‘Keep that same energy’ was an auntie 🤣🔥.”
“In other words, don’t be fake mad!”
“Howard coughing as we speak 😂”
“Ooopp! She got a point.”
Despite Howard University’s students and alumni views on wanting Rashad fired, the HBCU has yet to address these termination calls in an official statement. Following the aftermath of her tweet, Rashad confirmed in an email sent out to Howard University’s parents and students that she would undergo and participate in training that “reinforces University’s protocol and conduct” and to also “become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors.”
She wrote, “My remarks were in no way directed towards survivors of sexual assault. I vehemently oppose sexual violence, find no excuse for such behavior, and I know that Howard University has a zero-tolerance policy toward interpersonal violence.”
Rashad added in the next few weeks she plans “to engage in active listening and participate in trainings to not only reinforce University protocol and conduct, but also to learn how I can become a stronger ally to sexual assault survivors and everyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser.”