Temple University may take back Bill Cosby’s honorary degree

Temple University may take back Bill Cosby's honorary degree

April 27 (UPI) — Philadelphia’s Temple University is considering revoking an honorary degree given to comedian Bill Cosby, now that he’s been convicted of aggravated indecent assault.

A jury convicted Cosby Thursday on three counts of sexual assault charges that stemmed from his relationship with former Temple women’s basketball staffer Andrea Constand.

Constand said Cosby gave her pills to relax while they were alone once at her Elkins Park, Pa., home. She said she became drowsy and unable to move, at which point Cosby touched her.

Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each count, each of which could be served concurrently.

Temple said Thursday’s verdict “provides additional facts for the university to consider with respect to Bill Cosby’s honorary degree.”

Cosby, 80, received his bachelor’s degree from Temple and served on its board of trustees for decades before resigning in 2014. He received the honorary degree in 1991.

Patrick O’Connor, chairman of Temple’s board of trustees, said he would recuse himself from discussions on rescinding the degree. O’Connor represented Cosby in 2005 when he first faced allegations from Constand.

At least 15 universities — the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Swarthmore College, Muhlenberg College, Franklin & Marshall College, Lehigh University, Wilkes University, the University of Pittsburgh, Brown University, Tufts University, Goucher College, Fordham University, Marquette University, Baylor University and the University of San Francisco — have already rescinded degrees given to the former TV star.

Carnegie Mellon University said Thursday it has a no-tolerance policy on sexual violence.

“In order to fulfill that commitment and in light of Bill Cosby’s criminal conviction for aggravated indecent assault, Carnegie Mellon University has decided to revoke an honorary degree it awarded to Mr. Cosby in 2007,” the college said.

Johns Hopkins University also rescinded a degree after the verdict, saying it had been “unaware of the allegations that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.”

The University of Notre Dame also followed suit, saying it waited for due process before rescinding its honor.