University of San Francisco Rescinds Bill Cosby Honorary Degree

The University of San Francisco became the latest institution of higher education to strip comedian Bill Cosby of an honorary degree, following a string of accusations that he drugged women and sexually assaulted them.

On Friday, the University of San Francisco Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind the honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby in 2012, according to the Office of the President. The university sent Cosby a letter informing him of the decision.

Cosby has admitted in civil depositions to having extramarital relationships with several women, including some who now accuse him of sexual assault. He has never been charged with a crime.

"By his own statements in a court deposition made public in July, Mr. Cosby acknowledges behavior that is inconsistent with the University of San Francisco's criteria for a USF honorary degree," the university said in a statement on Monday. "As a Jesuit Catholic university, we believe there is a moral dimension to every significant human choice. We strive to take actions that are consistent with the vision, mission, and values statement of the University of San Francisco in these and all endeavors."

Cosby gave the commencement speech at USF on May 18, 2012. In a video clip posted by the university, the actor is seen making a classic Cosby joke: "There are parents waiting for you to move out," he told the students, who laughed at the quip. He was given an honorary degree after the speaking engagement. His theme of the night was "Have the courage to move forward despite your fears, and offer no excuses," the San Francisco Chronicle reported at the time.

Brown University in Rhode Island rescinded his doctorate this week, following similar actions by Jesuit schools, Fordham and Marquette universities. Boston’s Berklee College of Music and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst — Cosby’s alma mater — also dropped programs that bore his name. In July, Spelman College, a historically black institution for women, said it is discontinuing its endowed professorship.

Television stations have also cut ties with Cosby, including NBC, which in January planned to work on a Bill Cosby project, where he would have starred as the patriarch of a multigenerational family.

Allegations of Cosby's sexual forays have been rumored since 2000 and by August, at least 51 woman have accused him of rape or sexual assault. As of July, two lawsuits have been filed against Cosby.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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