Lehigh rescinds Bill Cosby’s honorary degree

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Lehigh has rescinded the honorary degree given to comedian Bill Cosby by the university following a resolution of the board of trustees, according to a Lehigh news article.

Cosby has been under public scrutiny for claims made by more than 40 women who have accused him of sexual assault.

“In sworn deposition testimony, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath to behavior that is antithetical to the values of Lehigh University and inconsistent with the character and high standards that honorary degree recipients are expected to exemplify,” reads Lehigh’s statement.

Bill Cosby is announced as commencement speaker in the Sept. 9, 1986, edition of The Brown and White.

Bill Cosby is announced as commencement speaker in the Sept. 9, 1986, edition of The Brown and White.

Cosby spoke at Lehigh’s commencement ceremony in 1987 and was given an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Lehigh decision follows similar actions recently taken by other universities who had honored Cosby in the past, such as Fordham University, Marquette University and Brown University.

Cosby’s coming to Lehigh was announced in September 1986 by former Lehigh President Peter Likins and Louis G. Bunnick, president of the class of 1987. According to an article in The Brown and White from Sept. 12, 1986, Lehigh trustee Bill Clayton had a relationship with Cosby that helped solidify him at Lehigh’s speaker that year.

Cosby delivered his address on May 30, 1987, and urged students to appreciate what their parents had done to support them through college.

“Who was it who did without and listened to you call when you messed up the money they already sent?” Cosby said during his commencement address, according to The Express-Times. “Who is it who is here today, ready to cry, ready to hug you and ready to send you more money? When this is over, seek out your parents, give ’em a big hug and thank them for living for years with an immature person.”

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