Bill Cosby’s honorary degree from FIT may be rescinded

The Fashion Institute of Technology wants to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby following his conviction on aggravated sexual assault charges, the school said Monday.

The college, which is part of the State University of New York, said Cosby’s conviction “undermines the accomplishments that were cited for awarding the honorary degree.” He was given the degree in 2000.

Cosby was convicted in a Pennsylvania court on Thursday on three counts of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former administrator for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, Cosby’s alma mater, in 2004. He has been accused of sexual assault by at least 50 women.

“Such behavior is inconsistent with the values embraced by FIT, as well as with those upheld by SUNY,” FIT said.

SUNY will make the official decision on whether to revoke the degree.

Other colleges and universities in the city have awarded Cosby with honorary degrees, including Fordham University, John Jay College, which is part of the City University of New York, Cooper Union and New York University.

Fordham and CUNY announced they would rescind the degrees before Cosby was convicted. Cooper Union revoked the honor to Cosby on Saturday.

“We have great expectations for the kind of community we wish to foster for The Cooper Union and the world at large, which means we have zero tolerance for harassment or assault of any kind,” the college’s president, Laura Sparks, said in a statement.

NYU said its Board of Trustees will address the topic at its next meeting, but it wasn’t immediately clear when that meeting will take place.

“With Mr. Cosby’s conviction, we expect the trustees to take up the matter of his honorary degree at their next meeting,” spokesman John Beckman said.

Across the country, several other universities have taken back honorary degrees from the comedian, including Temple University, Boston College, Johns Hopkins University, Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon University.

Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the three counts. He remains out of jail on $1 million bail pending his sentencing and is confined to his home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. He must wear a GPS monitor and may only travel within a five-county area for medical treatment or legal consultation, according to an order issued on Friday.

With Reuters

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