In wake of the many sexual assault accusations against Bill Cosby, two Jesuit universities — Fordham University and Marquette University — have rescinded the honorary degrees awarded to the comedian.
“As a Jesuit university, Fordham could no longer stand behind the degree it had bestowed upon Mr. Cosby,” the New York City college said in a statement Thursday.
The university cited Cosby’s words in a recently released 2005 deposition, in which the 78-year-old admitted to giving women quaaludes before sex, which Cosby claimed was consensual. “By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing,” the statement reads. “Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions.”
Cosby originally received the honor from Fordham in 2001 for his role in improving the way the black community was represented in television and pop culture. Per the university, this marks the first time an honorary Fordham degree has been rescinded from a recipient.
Similarly, Marquette University retracted the degree given to Cosby in 2013 on Thursday, which also marks the first revocation of its kind for the institution. “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 Jesuit university said in a statement.
The college’s President Michael Lovell tweeted, “I’m proud of our trustees and Marquette leadership for taking this important stand.” Lowell said he received overwhelming support from campus leaders and faculty members for the board’s decision.
Spelman College cut ties with Cosby in July, and the Navy and Disney have also taken privileges away from the actor.
More than 50 women have come forward with accusations against Cosby. Last month, a Los Angeles County judge ordered Cosby to answer questions under oath in the case of Judy Huth, who filed a lawsuit in December claiming that the comedian sexually assaulted her when she was 15. That deposition is scheduled for Oct. 9.