For the first time in both of their histories, Fordham University and Marquette University have rescinded honorary degrees. Both for the same person: Bill Cosby.
Although Cosby has not actually been charged with a crime, the formerly praised comedian has admitted to having extramarital relationships with several women, many of which now accuse him of sexual assault. In a New York Magazine July cover story, 35 women told stories of being assaulted by Bill Cosby
For both of the Jesuit schools, this was enough evidence for their Board of Trustees to make a precedent.
Cosby had originally been awarded the degree for promoting the representation of the black community on American television. Cosby was also awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree in 2001, which has also been rescinded by Fordham’s Board of trustees.
According to Time, Fordham President Joseph M. McShane wrote a letter to students and faculty claiming that for this circumstance to occur, “a recipient’s actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact.”
Due to a 2005 deposition verifying Cosby’s use of his status and Quaaludes to lure women into sexual acts, McShane was confident that the University could no longer stand by the degree they had originally awarded Cosby.
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