Why Yale's Move Against Bill Cosby Stings

He's first in university's history to have honorary degree rescinded
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2018 7:02 AM CDT
Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., on April 18, 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

(Newser) – Bill Cosby has been the recipient of at least 60 honorary degrees from colleges and universities, more than 20 of which revoked the honor in advance of his guilty verdict last week, per the AP. Several others—Carnegie Mellon University, Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins University, and Cosby's alma mater, Temple University—followed suit after that conviction for sexually assaulting a Temple employee, reports NPR. Yale's move, however, might sting even more. Cosby, who received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Yale for his "contributions to society" in 2003, on Tuesday became the first person in the university's 317-year history to have an honorary degree revoked, reports the Atlantic, which notes Yale has handed out more than 2,500 honorary degrees.

The move, sought by students since 2014, was cemented with a vote by Yale's board of trustees and "a court record providing clear and convincing evidence of conduct that violates fundamental standards of decency shared by all members of the Yale community, conduct that was unknown to the board at the time the degree was awarded," a university rep says. The Atlantic notes the move "underscores the gravity" of Cosby’s crimes "and the pressure upon universities to signal they are taking the issue of sexual abuse on campus seriously." Indeed, the rep says Yale's move reaffirms its commitment to the "elimination of sexual misconduct." (Cosby might be kicking himself.)

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