The University of Missouri is considering revoking the honorary degree it offered Bill Cosby almost 20 years ago.

The Decision

The President of the University of Missouri, Mun Choi, said he wants UM to revoke the honorary degree it gave to Bill Cosby 20 years ago. The university’s Curator Board will be voting on this on Friday, upon Choi’s recommendation. Curators were sent a memo explaining that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault cases he is accused of are “incompatible” with the university’s honorary doctorate that they gave him.

According to Columbia Missourian, the faculty council at the university had previously recommended this in 2015. One staff member has said that around twenty other universities in the country have already revoked the honorary degrees they gave Cosby.

Other Universities’ Actions

Bill Cosby had received almost 60 honorary degrees from universities in the United States- including ones in fine arts, education, law and music. Universities such as Fordham, Spelman, Marquette, Brown and Tufts have all already severed all ties with the actor.

Berkley’s Music College told Future: “In 2014, the college removed Bill Cosby’s name from an online scholarship awarded annually for online study. We are actively engaged in internal discussion to determine our course of action in regard to the honorary degree presented to Bill Cosby in 2004.”

Many other universities are still considering their position on the matter. This includes Carnegie Mellon, which said it “is having internal discussions regarding Bill Cosby’s honorary degree. The university has not made a decision at this time. We have no further comment.”

Some other colleges have decided against rescinding their honorary degrees. Boston College has said: “Bill Cosby was awarded an honorary degree from Boston College in 1996 in recognition of his role as an actor and humorist and his work on behalf of education. While the recent allegations against him are reprehensible, as a matter of policy, Boston College does not rescind honorary degrees.”

Many of those who did not revoke their honorary degrees ensured that regardless of that, its stance against sexual violence remains vigilant. Virginia Commonwealth University said:

“Because VCU honorary degrees carry no special rights or privileges there is no precedent or policy for revoking them. The behavior detailed in the allegations against Cosby is despicable and anathema to VCU’s values as an institution…

There is no tolerance for sexual violence at VCU.”

Update on the Allegations

This comes just a week after one of the sexual assault cases against Cosby were at a jury deadlock and given a mistrial by a Pennsylvania judge. Prosecutors say the case will be retried.


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