The University of Connecticut on Wednesday revoked an honorary degree awarded to actor and comedian Bill Cosby. It was the first time in the university’s history it has revoked an honorary degree, customarily awarded to its commencement speakers.
A spokesperson for UConn said it was the ninth school to revoke a degree awarded to Cosby. Others are Amherst, Brown, Fordham, Marquette, Spelman, Tufts, Bryant and Springfield colleges and universities.
Audio of Cosby’s May 1996 speech to UConn’s graduating class was removed from the school’s website after the Board of Trustees voted to revoke the degree. The speech had been described by UConn as “funny, fatherly, and frank.”
Recent allegations of rape lodged by dozens of women and sworn testimony by Cosby admitting to purchasing sedatives to give to women led to the UConn board’s decision.
“The actions of Bill Cosby are in no way a reflection of the highest intellectual and moral values or the character and quality of the university itself,” said a statement of position adopted unanimously by the school’s governing board Wednesday.
Cosby is no stranger in Connecticut.
In addition to speaking during the 1996 commencement, Cobsy has been a guest lecturer at UConn’s African American Culture Center and traveled to the state Capitol in 2012 to to honor Dr. Cato Laurencin, the former dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center.