STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut on Wednesday revoked an honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby, saying he engaged in conduct “incongruent” with the university’s values.
Trustees voted unanimously to rescind the Doctor of Fine Arts given to Cosby in 1996. Officials said it was the first time UConn has revoked an honorary degree.
A representative for Cosby didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.
The 78-year-old Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and molested dozens of women over five decades. He is charged criminally in connection with allegations by one woman in Pennsylvania and faces lawsuits by others in states including Massachusetts, where he and his wife of more than a half-century have a home in Shelburne Falls. Cosby has denied the allegations.
More than two dozen other colleges and universities around the country have rescinded Cosby’s honorary degrees or are considering doing so.
The resolution approved by UConn cites Cosby’s admissions in lawsuit depositions. In one deposition, Cosby admitted he had affairs with young models and actresses and he obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.
“The University respects the principles of due process and Mr. Cosby’s right to a fair and public trial on the criminal charges against him,” the resolution says. “But the conduct which he admitted in his sworn testimony provides compelling reasons for the University of Connecticut to consider the revocation of his honorary degree.
“This is an extraordinary action that is not being taken lightly,” the resolution says.
The Undergraduate Student Government at UConn asked trustees in March to revoke Cosby’s degree.
UConn officials said the university and other higher education institutions must work to prevent sexual assault and to support victims.