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November 12, 2015

Drexel University revokes Bill Cosby's honorary degree

President John A. Fry says comedian's alleged actions stand in opposition to school's values

Drexel University has revoked the honorary degree awarded to comedian Bill Cosby, the school's president wrote in a short message posted on the college's website Thursday morning.

In his letter, addressed to the "Drexel University Community," President John A. Fry stated he made the decision to take away the honor along with members of the executive committee of Drexel's Board of Trustees. The honor was bestowed upon the Philadelphia native in 1992.

"The misconduct by Bill Cosby that came to light through his sworn deposition testimony stands in clear opposition to Drexel’s values," Fry wrote.

He continued, "Universities are critical arenas in the movement to recognize and address sexual violence and misconduct as a societal problem. Drexel takes that responsibility very seriously, and the decision to revoke Mr. Cosby’s honorary degree flows from that responsibility."

More than 50 women have made sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, who has never been charged with a crime, although legal pressure has been mounting against him.

A number of colleges already have rescinded honorary degrees awarded to Cosby. Before Thursday's announcement, Drexel was among 37 schools that had not taken such action, along with the Dragon's University City neighbor, University of Pennsylvania.

An article published last week in Penn's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, quoted the Ivy League school's Vice President for University Communications Stephen J. McCarthy as saying, "While the allegations against Mr. Cosby are deeply troubling, it is not our practice to rescind honorary degrees."