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Pitt rescinds honorary degree to Bill Cosby |

Pitt rescinds honorary degree to Bill Cosby

| Friday, November 13, 2015 2:31 p.m.
The University of Pittsburgh rescinded an honorary degree for comedian Bill Cosby on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.
The University of Pittsburgh rescinded an honorary degree for comedian Bill Cosby on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.
In this June 2, 2017 photo, University of Missouri System president Mun Choi speaks at Memorial Union on the Columbia campus in Columbia, Mo. The University is considering whether to revoke an honorary degree it granted to Bill Cosby. The university's Board of Curators will vote Friday June 23, 2017 on a recommendation from system President Mun Choi. He is urging revocation, citing allegations from several women that Cosby sexually assaulted them.

The University of Pittsburgh no longer counts embattled comedian Bill Cosby among its own.

Pitt, which gave an honorary doctorate to Cosby during commencement at its Johnstown campus in 2002, rescinded the degree following a unanimous recommendation from the school’s Committee for Honorary Degree Recipients, university spokesman Ken Service said Friday.

“The committee found that certain actions on Mr. Cosby’s part — unknown to the public at the time and subsequently admitted by him — were in conflict with the stated basis for awarding the degree and inconsistent with the core values and principles of the university,” Service said in an email.

The move followed months of accusations from dozens of women who said the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted them in a series of incidents dating back to the 1960s.

Cosby publicist David Brokaw did not respond to request for comment.

Although Cosby has not been criminally charged for any of the accusations, the mounting claims have cost him dearly in the court of public opinion here and elsewhere.

With its action, Pitt joins a growing list of schools, including the University of San Francisco, Fordham, Brown, Baylor, Marquette and Wilkes universities, that have revoked honorary doctorates they gave to Cosby.

This week, the Associated Press reported that two other universities, Drexel University in Philadelphia and Bryant University in Rhode Island, rescinded honorary degrees they gave the 78-year-old comedian.

An official at Carnegie Mellon University, which awarded Cosby an honorary degree after he gave a commencement speech in 2007, said the school has not taken action to rescind it.

“Carnegie Mellon is having internal discussions regarding Bill Cosby’s honorary degree,” CMU spokeswoman Abby Simmons said. “The university has not made a decision at this time.”

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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