Marquette, Fordham, and Brown University have stripped Bill Cosby of his honorary doctorate degrees as a result of the allegations that he drugged and raped nearly 50 women over the course of the last 30 years.
Christina Paxson, President of Brown University, released a statement about the institution’s decision:
“It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown and the qualities for which he was honored by the University in 1985.”
A portion of Fordham University’s official statement on Bill Cosby states:
“Cosby was unworthy of the honor not just because of the actions he admitted to in a deposition — that he obtained drugs to give women he wanted to have sex with — he engaged in a longtime strategy of verbally attacking his female accusers.”
A statement released by Marquette University in part reads:
“By his own admission Mr. Cosby engaged in behaviors that go entirely against our university’s mission and the guiding values we have worked so hard to instill on our campus…”
During Wednesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and panel discussed Brown, Marquette, and Fordham’s decision to strip Cosby of his degrees and if these attempts to erase the embattled comedian from history are overkill.
When speaking about Brown University rescinding their degree, Martin posed the question, “What does that say — Bill Cosby stripped, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, may have raped Sally Hemings, she had babies from him — but he still has an honorary degree?”
NewsOne Now panelist Michelle Bernard responded to Martin’s question, saying, “If you are a slave and you ‘have sex’ with your ‘slave master,’ it’s rape.”
Bernard continued, “Bill Cosby is a Black man. There is still in this country … this fear of Black men with White women in a consensual relationship and they have decided that it hurts their brand, so to speak, to give him (Bill Cosby) the honorary degree.”
Cleo Manago said he does not believe this is an issue of branding, “because this issue is not living anymore. It kind of left the press.” He told Martin, “somebody said once ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’ and Bill was big and Bill is Black…”
Manago added, “The whole country was founded as you know … was started by slave owners and dehumanizers and murders and rapists and genocidal people as well, so you can’t compare” Cosby and Jefferson to one another.
Martin went on to detail a number of institutions that have removed the Cosby name from their buildings and said, “If you want to make a statement and we say, ‘We don’t want your name on nothing, we don’t want your name on a fellowship,’ should they also return the money donated by the Cosby family back then?”
Being that this is the first time these institutions have stripped someone of an honorary degree, Martin asked that these colleges investigate other honorary degree recipients’ pasts and strip these individuals of their honors if transgressions are found.
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the ongoing attempt to erase Bill Cosby from history as a result of sexual impropriety accusations in the video clip above.
Let us know if you agree or disagree with colleges and universities rescinding Bill Cosby’s honorary degrees.
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