Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Ohio State University Revokes Bill Cosby's Honorary Degree

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 11:25 AM

click to enlarge cosbymug_1280.jpg

Dishonorable comedian Bill Cosby served as the commencement speaker for the graduating class of Ohio State University in 2001, and was given an honorary degree as a result. According to the Associated Press, University trustees approved a motion to revoke Cosby’s degree last Friday before he begins his sexual assault retrial this morning.

Cosby’s first trial ended in a hung jury, and the start of this retrial focuses on one of the 58 women that have accused him of sexual assault. Cosby claims the encounter was consensual, but the victim, Andrea Constand, claims Cosby drugged her before assaulting her in his home near Philadelphia back in 2004. Opening statements in the trial against the 80-year-old comedian will be made today outside Philadelphia.

Ohio State University defended its decision in a statement saying, "by his own admission, Bill Cosby violated our university’s principles and values.”

This isn’t the first honorary degree to be retracted from Cosby, as the University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Tufts, Fordham University, Baylor, Boston University, University of San Francisco and Oberlin College have all followed suit. For Ohio State, however, this is the first time in university history that an honorary degree has been rescinded. University spokesperson Chris Davey noted in a statement that Ohio State administrators had to create a process to annul an honorary degree.

In his 2001 commencement address Cosby said, “A dream is a dream. That’s all it is. It has no order. And you have no memory when you wake up unless it was in fact, a nightmare.”

Given that nearly 60 women live a waking nightmare each day because of his alleged actions, a terminated honorary degree is a small step on the healing path toward justice.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation