Fordham University has never rescinded one of its honorary degrees in the school’s 174-year history. In an email to students Thursday, administrators announced they would be making an exception for alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby.
From the email:
In 2001, Fordham University presented comedian and actor Bill Cosby with an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, not least because of the significant role he played in breaking the color carrier in American television and popular culture, and his position as an inspirational figure for millions of African Americans. At the time, there was no public awareness of the allegations of rape against him.
Today Joseph M. McShane, SJ, president of Fordham, put before the University Board of Trustees a motion to rescind Mr. Cosby’s honorary degree. The trustees voted unanimously to do so, officially rescinding Mr. Cosby’s Fordham degree. The University has taken this extraordinary step in light of Mr. Cosby’s now-public court depositions that confirm many of the allegation made against him by numerous women.
Fordham has never before rescinded an honorary degree. A recipient’s actions would have to be both ambiguously 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 reputation 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.
Great stuff, Fordham, if a bit late. But hey, better late than Boston University.
BU awarded Cosby an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2014, and despite literally dozens of accusations of sexual assault from women of varying ages, backgrounds, and profession (some made publicly prior to that commencement weekend); a chilling New York magazine feature giving voice to 35 of his alleged victims; the release of court documents revealing he admitted to using quaaludes to have sex with women; and some good ol’ fashioned prodding from Boston magazine, the school seems unwilling to relinquish its odious distinction of being the last to honor him.
What the hell is BU waiting for?
Last week, the school announced that, after raising $888 million of its $1 billion goal, the “Campaign for Boston University” would be extended through 2019 with hopes of reaching $1.5 billion. What better way to kick off the second leg of this fundraising drive than to forever dissociate Terriers around the globe with a man of Cosby’s moral stature.
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