Marquette University announced Thursday it is rescinding an honorary degree it awarded to comedian Bill Cosby when he was commencement speaker for the Class of 2013, amid compounding allegations the actor was a serial rapist who drugged his victims.
It’s the first time the Jesuit university has taken back an honorary degree, according to Marquette officials.
Cosby drew big applause when he donned a Marquette cap and revealed an MU sweat shirt under his graduation garb during the May 2013 commencement at a nearly packed BMO Harris Bradley Center.
He told graduates to go into the world remembering the values they learned from the school’s Jesuits — respect, integrity and a responsibility to serve others.
That was before the sordid allegations from dozens of women began publicly piling up against him. Cosby admitted in a court deposition to getting prescription Quaaludes to give women he wanted to have sex with, according to documents from a civil lawsuit obtained in July by several news organizations.
“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,” Marquette President Michael Lovell and Provost Daniel Myers wrote in a letter to the Marquette community after the Board of Trustees voted Thursday to rescind the degree.
“Every day, we live these values by challenging our students to integrate knowledge and faith into their real-life decisions in ways that will shape their lives,” the letter said.
Lovell later tweeted that he was proud of the university for “taking this important stand.”
Asked about the timing of the action, Marquette spokesman Brian Dorrington said the Board of Trustees’ met for the first time this academic year on Thursday.
Source: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel | Karen Herzog