Temple Faculty: Revoke Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degree

The Temple faculty senate passed a resolution that condemns Bill Cosby and Temple Board of Trustees chairman Patrick O'Connor.

Comedian Bill Cosby at Temple University's commencement Thursday, May 12, 2011, in Philadelphia.

Comedian Bill Cosby at Temple University’s commencement Thursday, May 12, 2011, in Philadelphia.

Temple’s faculty senate voted yesterday for a resolution that calls for Temple President Neil Theobald to strip Bill Cosby of his honorary degree.

The Temple News reports the vote was done after faculty senate members were made aware of a deposition where Cosby admitted to giving women quaaludes and later having sex with them. Cosby has never been charged with a crime, but he has been accused by scores of women of drugging and raping them. Cosby has denied the allegations.

A Temple spokesman says Theobald does not have the power to strip honorary degrees; only the Board of Trustees can do so. Cosby resigned from the board a year ago; NBC’s Tamron Hall replaced him.

Marina Angel, a law prof who drafted the resolution, says Temple needs to act. The motion condemned both Cosby and Temple Board of Trustees chairman Patrick O’Connor, who served as Cosby’s lawyer after former Temple employee Andrea Constand sued Cosby for sexual assault. “If Temple doesn’t get ahead of this, O’Connor and Temple are going to look like shit,” she told The Temple News.

Most Philadelphia-area colleges have either revoked Cosby’s honorary diploma (Swarthmore, Drexel) or are considering it. Philadelphia magazine asked local schools about the issue in October.

Penn is the only school that has said it won’t rescind Cosby’s diploma, saying it never revokes honorary degrees. (It revoked the degrees of Germany’s kaiser and ambassador to the U.S. during World War I; apparently one has to literally declare war on the United States to be stripped of an honorary degree from Penn.)

Temple told Philadelphia magazine in October stripping Cosby of his honorary diploma was not under discussion.