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The University of Missouri, as well as at least 25 other colleges and universities, are planning to remove the honorary degrees awarded to comedian and alleged sex-offender Bill Cosby.
This Friday, the Board of Curators will vote based on a recommendation from UM System President Mun Choi that Cosby shall forfeit his Doctor of Humane Letters degree awarded at the December 1999 commencement ceremony.
Despite a Pennsylvania judge declaring a mistrial on Saturday in Cosby’s trial for aggravated indecent assault for allegedly giving drugs to a staff member of the Temple University women’s basketball program, nearly 50 other women claim to have been sexually assaulted by Cosby over the years.
“While the Pennsylvania jury in this instance did not find unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Cosby had engaged in criminal conduct, the standard for rescinding the university’s unilateral gift of an honorary degree is different than that required of the Pennsylvania jury to find criminal guilt,” the board document recommending the action states.
The action to revoke Cosby’s honorary degree first began in November 2015 with the MU Faculty Council. Two years later, the university’s decision is expected to come this week.
An honorary degree is bestowed on individuals whom the university deems to be impressive and worthy.
Some notable higher institutions that have revoked Cosby’s honorific degrees include Fordham University and Marquette University. The two institutions withdrew the degrees in September 2015, when Cosby’s allegations surfaced.
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