For the past year, the plight of Bill Cosby and allegations of rape have been mainstream news. Dozens of women have accused him of drugging and raping them throughout his career. Cosby did admit in court depositions that he gave women the drug Quaalude for the purposes of having sex. Now a well-known university has stripped Cosby of his honorary degree.
Fordham University announced last week that the school’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to rescind his degree. This is the first time the 175 year old, respected New York institution has ever taken such an action. Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane sent a letter to students and faculty that stated in part when it comes to rescinding an honorary degree, “a recipient’s actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact. By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions. That Mr. Cosby was willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women’s reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale.”
Cosby was awarded his honorary degree in 2001 in part for enhancing the black presence in American television.