`

After guilty verdict, Notre Dame rescinds honorary degree given to Bill Cosby

April 26, 2018

The University of Notre Dame says it has rescinded the honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby in 1990.

The university announced the move Thursday after a Pennsylvania jury found the comedian guilty of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee in 2004.

Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins issued a statement saying the school was "troubled by serious, public accusations made by multiple women against him," but the university chose to wait until a verdict was delivered against Cosby before rescinding the degree.

The decision came as Temple University in Philadelphia, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, all announced Thursday they would revoke honorary degrees given to Cosby years ago.

Boston College made the opposite decision and a spokesman told the Boston Globe that "as a matter of policy, we do not rescind honorary degrees."

Cosby received his bachelor's from Temple and served on its board of trustees for decades before resigning in 2014. He received the honorary degree in 1991.

Even before the verdict, more than 20 colleges and universities across the U.S. had revoked honorary degrees from Cosby in light of allegations against him.

Ohio State University's governing board pulled a 2001 degree from Cosby this month in the days leading up to his retrial.

Colleges across the country have struggled to decide whether to strip honors from men whose reputations have been tarnished in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Some have been quick to cut ties, including the University at Buffalo, which revoked an honorary degree from disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and Fordham University, which pulled an honor from fired news anchor Charlie Rose.

But others besides Boston College have refused. The Juilliard School in New York, which gave an honorary doctorate to actor Kevin Spacey in 2000, said it does not rescind such honors.

Although it traditionally has been rare for schools to rescind honorary degrees retroactively, experts say it has become more common in light of the #MeToo movement. Some schools have been pressured to strip honors by students, faculty or outside critics.

Often it's up to a school's governing board to approve and revoke honorary degrees, which are often awarded to notable alumni or graduation speakers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Associated Press

Comments powered by Disqus