Earlier this week the Springfield College Board of Trustees made the decision to revoke the honorary degree given to Bill Cosby in 2002. The decision was made based on Cosby’s conduct not coinciding with Springfield’s values.
Cosby has been facing allegations of sexual assault since early 2000 but his situation has risen to national, and judicial, prominence in the past year with some allegations extending all the way back to 1965.
For a long time Cosby was a common household name. Through his shows like Fat Albert, The Cosby Show and Kids Say the Darnedest Things he was close to many Americans’ hearts.
In 2002, Springfield College invited Cosby to deliver the commencement address and in turn receive an honorary degree.
The TV star however lost traction throughout the country when the allegations of rape, drug-infused sexual assaults and sexual misconduct started creeping onto the national scene.
Cosby has publicly admitted to buying and giving drugs to women before having sex with them but he remains adamant that rape and sexual assault were not part of the equation.
His path and positive societal view have slowly gone down hill since then. Springfield’s decision to revoke the honorary degree bestowed upon Cosby was not an original one, as other schools, such as Tufts, Brown and Marquette, taking the same action, but it comes at a pivotal time for the College.
This semester has been filled with controversial topics throughout campus but the College has put its foot down firmly on this one.
Springfield College selects honorary degree recipients through service and characteristics that walk the same line as the College’s.
In a press statement sent out earlier this week President Mary-Beth Cooper commented on the revoking of the degree.
“I believe that, by his own admission, he has shown a lack of character and integrity that is inconsistent with our Humanics philosophy, which is the foundation of a Springfield College education,” said Cooper. “I am in full support of this decision.”
Student Trustee Jonathan Reidy agreed with Cooper’s statement.
“The decision to rescind [Cosby’s] degree was to acknowledge that his behavior was not consistent with that of someone who is truly living the Humanics Philosophy of Springfield College,” said Reidy.