May 12th, 2002. That’s the day that Bill Cosby graduated from Springfield College, well sorta. Cosby gave the commencement speech to the Class of 2002 and received an honorary Doctor of Humanics degree from the school. No big deal at the time because the lovable figure from the “Cosby Show” seemed like a great guy and was nice enough to take the school up on its invite to speak.
Then came the allegations. Cosby was accused of sexually assaulting more than 40 women. The women claimed that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them. He acknowledged, according to the masslive article consulted while writing this column, to obtaining prescription drugs to give women before having sex with. That said, he has denied, and still does, that he raped those women.
Listen, this is absolutely the right move. I don’t care if you grew up watching Bill Cosby on TV or if you think that these women are just looking for money – and I know there are people out there who think that – this was the right call. Cosby’s image will forever be tainted, whether you agree with it or not. People will always look back at Bill Cosby and think of him for these horrible accusations. That’s a terrible look for any campus.
More importantly, these accusations are serious and, quite frankly, downright disgusting. If Mr. Cosby did in fact commit these crimes, then that makes him a despicable human being in my mind, there’s no way around that.
Springfield College prides itself on its humanics philosophy, which is something everyone can agree on. The school is all about giving back, doing the right thing and having integrity. The decisions, the acts that Cosby is accused of go against everything that this school believes in. You’d also be hard pressed to find anyone who will have sympathy for anyone who does what he is accused of doing. The school took a stand, this person represented them in a way and went against everything they stand for. Severing ties and doing this gets a very big round of applause from this student.
And before you say this is a move that no one else is doing, let’s have a look at some facts. According to masslive, Tufts University in Medford also rescinded the honorary degree it gave to Cosby. Fordham, Brown and Marquette have done the same while Umass Amherst formally severed its ties with Cosby a full year ago. Sorry, but people all agree that what was done was terrible and that these honors shouldn’t be bestowed upon him.
I want to give credit to this school, to our President Mary-Beth Cooper and to the Springfield College faculty senate for coming to this conclusion. I’d wager that most of the students agree with this move, no one will argue that Cosby deserved to keep this honor.
Let’s be honest here, in the grand scheme of things this is pretty minor for Bill Cosby and honestly, I doubt he cares that Springfield College took its honorary degree back. In fact, I doubt he cares that any college has done the same thing, he’s got bigger fish to fry right now.
That being said, it still matters to me that this school stepped up. They clearly believe in a set of guidelines, they clearly care about their image and don’t just talk the talk. Springfield College’s humanics philosophy is a trademark of the school and these accusations go against everything. Stepping up and doing this is a perfect move.