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.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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