Last Friday, USF’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree. Following in the footsteps of other Jesuit institutions like Marquette and Fordham, USF has decided to take away the honorary degree from Cosby on the basis of his behavior, which was deemed inconsistent with the school’s mission. What are your thoughts on the Board’s decision?
I think rescinding Bill Cosby’s honorary degree was a good decision because our university should not condone his behavior. At USF, we have strong values that revolve around caring for other people, being kind and loving, and being respectful towards others. These values do not reflect the actions of Bill Cosby. I think it’s important that the university has rescinded his honorary degree because the campus has been trying very hard to create a culture on campus where sexual assault is not acceptable. I think USF handled the Cosby situation respectfully.
USF made the right decision to rescind the degree, but I think that USF should not have awarded the degree in the first place. The university should have conducted more research before awarding Cosby the degree and found that his character was questionable. The degree was awarded before I enrolled at USF, so I feel in the dark about why Bill Cosby was awarded an honorary degree in the first place. I know a fair amount of time was spent on making the decision whether or not the degree should have been taken away, but given the university’s strong stance against sexual assault the lag has surprised me.
An Honorary degree comes with the responsibility of carrying the school’s mission forward. Based on the numerous allegations that Bill Cosby is now currently facing, it does not seem like he is carrying out USF’s Jesuit values. As a student at USF, I respect the University’s decision to remove the degree from Mr. Cosby. I hope this sends an important message to other affiliations or institutions tied to Mr. Cosby, that his actions cannot be ignored or overlooked.