Fordham University Takes Back Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree

Photo: Andrew Toth/ FilmMagic.
Fordham University has announced that for the first time in its history, it would rescind an honorary degree — the one it awarded in 2001 to Bill Cosby.

Cosby, who's been accused of drugging and raping tens of women over a 40-year period, has more than a dozen honorary degrees, as well as the United States' highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Since the scandal broke, he's had gigs cancelled and reruns of his eponymous show pulled, but Fordham is the first large organization to penalize Cosby.

"The University has taken this extraordinary step in light of Mr. Cosby’s now-public court depositions that confirm many of the allegations made against him by numerous women," Fordham said in a statement. "By his own admission, Mr. Cosby’s sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing. Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions."

The decision followed a unanimous vote by Fordham's board of trustees, signaling to the world that Cosby's new criminal reputation is capable of supplanting his once celebrated one.

At a press conference about the Iran deal earlier this summer, someone asked President Obama whether the United States would rescind Cosby's Medal of Freedom. "There's no precedent for revoking a medal. We don't have that mechanism," Obama said.

So, Cosby might never lose that medal. But the rest of his accolades seem to be slipping away, one by one.