Following reports of sexual misconduct by former Penn trustee Steve Wynn, Penn rescinded Wynn's honorary degree along with Bill Cosby's this month, reversing the University's 2015 position against revoking Cosby's degree.
Nearly 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, and nearly 60 universities have awarded the comedian an honorary degree. Recently, Johns Hopkins University announced it would not follow in the footsteps of Penn and many other peer institutions that have revoked Cosby's honors.
According to The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, the University granted Cosby an honorary degree in 2004 and recently issued a statement saying that it did not intend to revoke his degree.
“Johns Hopkins University remains deeply troubled by the reports and allegations regarding Bill Cosby,” the statement read, according to the News-Letter. “As stated previously, Johns Hopkins has a set of values we seek to uphold and we continue to closely monitor all developments related to this matter. We exercise great care and deliberation in awarding an honorary degree and would do so in the event of revoking one.”
Johns Hopkins parent Lili Bernard, who appeared on The Cosby Show in the 1990s and has accused Cosby of sexual assault, has pushed for the university to revoke his degree. However, Johns Hopkins has never rescinded an honorary degree.
Hopkins joins Yale University in its decision to not to revoke Cosby’s honors, despite students’ calls and protests for the Universities to do so.
Earlier this month, in light of allegations of sexual misconduct against Steve Wynn, Penn rescinded Stephen Wynn’s honorary degree and removed his name from both Wynn Commons and a scholarship fund. In the same email, the University announced that it was revoking Cosby’s honorary degree after originally stating in 2015 that it would not do so. This was the first time in 100 years that Penn revoked an honorary degree.
“We view these these as extraordinary and essentially unique circumstances that call for an immediate, decisive, and clearly ethical response,” Penn President Amy Gutmann and Board of Trustees Chair David Cohen wrote in the email. “We do not take that decision lightly."
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