Update: In Light of Conviction, BC Rescinds Cosby’s Honorary Degree

Boston College on Friday rescinded the honorary degree it awarded to Bill Cosby in 1996, according to University Spokesman Jack Dunn. This marks the first time the University has revoked an honorary degree.

“In light of his conviction, Boston College has made the decision to rescind the honorary degree it awarded to Bill Cosby in 1996,” Dunn said in an email.

The decision follows a Boston Globe story Thursday in which Dunn said that, in light of a BC policy against rescinding honorary degrees, the University would not revoke Cosby’s. Although the University announced that it had reversed this decision a day later, the BC community was outraged that the University had originally said it would not change its policy.

On Thursday, a jury found Cosby guilty of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004, as reported by The New York Times. Dozens of women have accused him of sexual assault, starting in 1965.

Before this verdict was announced, more than 20 schools, including Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Notre Dame, and Wesleyan University, revoked honorary degrees awarded to Cosby.

Other universities that have rescinded honorary degrees awarded to Cosby since his conviction include Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Notre Dame, and Wesleyan University, in addition to over a dozen schools that rescinded their degrees to Cosby in 2015 in the wake of allegations of sexual assault against Cosby. His alma mater, Temple University, pulled its honorary degree to Cosby before BC did.

Yale University, which, like BC, has a long-standing practice of not revoking degrees, is said to be considering rescinding honorary degrees, a spokesman told the Yale Daily News on Friday.

In the midst of the #MeToo movement, other institutions have revoked honorary degrees awarded to high profile individuals, including the University of Pennsylvania, which stripped an honorary degree awarded to billionaire Steve Wynn in February. Harvey Weinstein and newscaster Charlie Rose also had honorary degrees revoked.

Cosby was given the degree in 1996 to honor his work as an actor and comedian, as well as his contributions to education. 

This article has been updated.

Featured Image by Matt Slocum / Associated Press

About Cole Dady 77 Articles
Cole was a news editor for The Heights in 2018.