Government & Politics

University of Missouri rescinds Bill Cosby’s honorary degree

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators revoked the honorary degree of actor Bill Cosby on Friday, June 23, 2017, by a unanimous vote.
The University of Missouri System Board of Curators revoked the honorary degree of actor Bill Cosby on Friday, June 23, 2017, by a unanimous vote. AP

Bill Cosby’s honorary degree from the University of Missouri was revoked Friday in a unanimous vote by the UM System Board of Curators.

Mizzou awarded Cosby an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 1999. Friday’s action is the first time the university has revoked an honorary degree, according to the Associated Press.

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi urged the board to rescind it, citing allegations that Cosby sexually assaulted dozens of women. There was no discussion before the curators voted.

Ben Trachtenberg, the chair of the MU Faculty Council, said the board made the right decision.

“Bill Cosby’s behavior, which is quite well-documented, is inconsistent with having an honorary degree from the University of Missouri,” Trachtenberg said. The board’s vote “sent the message that we’re not willing to let him have our degree now that we know information that, of course, was not available to us when we conferred it.”

Cosby was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in an incident that took place in 2004. After a six-day trial, a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial last week after the jury said it was deadlocked.

The prosecution said it would seek a second trial.

Cosby, often called “America’s dad” for his role as Dr. Cliff Huxtable on the 1980s TV sitcom “The Cosby Show,” faced intense criticism after women came forward and said he assaulted them.

At least 25 other universities have revoked honorary degrees received by Cosby, according to the AP.

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