New York City’s Fordham University has rescinded the honorary degree it gave Bill Cosby in 2001. Fordham President Joseph McShane introduced a motion during a board of trustees meeting to rescind Cosby’s doctorate, and it’s the first time in the school’s history that this has been done.
The university explained in a statement to the Huffington Post why the action was taken, saying that the university “has taken this extraordinary step in light of Mr. Cosby’s now-public court depositions that confirm many of the allegations made against him by numerous women.”
The statement continued: “A recipient’s actions would have to be both unambiguously dishonorable and have a deep impact. By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions.”
The university also said that Cosby was “willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women’s reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale.”
Fordham’s actions are similar to those taken by various other universities that have cut ties with Cosby. Spelman College ended a Cosby endowment, and New York University removed the actor’s name from its Future Filmmakers Workshop.
To date, more than 40 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting and drugging them, but he still maintains his innocence and says the women were willing participants.