Days before Bill Cosby’s retrial for sexual assault, Ohio State University joined a number of colleges and universities in revoking an honorary degree from the 80-year-old comedian, reported USA Today.
The OSU Board of Trustees voted on Friday, April 6 to rescind Cosby’s 2001 honorary doctorate degree — just three days before his retrial on the 9th. OSU's Board of Trustees first announced in 2016 that Cosby’s honors were under review.
This is the first time that OSU has rescinded an honorary degree, joining other colleges and universities including Brown University, Tufts University, Oberlin College, and Boston University.
In 2015, University spokesperson Steve MacCarthy said in a statement, “While the allegations against Mr. Cosby are deeply troubling, it is not our practice to rescind honorary degrees.”
The University’s recent decision to revoke Cosby's degree was the first of its kind in more than a century. The announcement came at the same time that Penn rescinded business mogul and former Penn Trustee Steve Wynn’s honorary degree and removed his name from what was once “Wynn Commons” in light of sexual assault accusations against him.
Cosby has been awarded nearly 60 honorary degrees since his ascent to fame in the 1960s, according to Vulture.com. But since allegations of his sexual assault became highly publicized in 2014, various universities have moved to revoke their honors from the comedian.
Cosby was first tried in June 2017 on three felony charges of aggravated indecent assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, but the case ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Cosby, one of Temple’s most famous alumni and a former member of the school’s Board of Trustees, has been accused of drugging and assaulting Constand in 2004, along with many other women over a decades-long period.
The same case is now being retried in Montgomery County, Pa. with additional witnesses being called for both the defense and the prosecution after the mistrial last summer. Cosby has denied all allegations of misconduct.
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