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University of Missouri Faculty Suggest Revoking Cosby Degree

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― The University of Missouri Faculty Council has voted to recommend rescind an honorary doctorate given to Bill Cosby.

The Columbia Missourian reports the council, which is made up of elected representatives of campus faculty, voted Nov. 5 to take back Cosby’s honorary doctorate in humane letters. Ben Trachtenberg, chair of the Faculty Council, said Tuesday that he has sent a letter with the recommendation to interim Chancellor Hank Foley and Provost Garnett Stokes.

The 78-year-old comedian is embroiled in dozens of allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women. Cosby has not been charged in any of the cases and had denied many of the allegations.

In a deposition released earlier this year, Cosby testified that he used Quaaludes during consensual sexual encounters.

Cosby received the honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri in 1999. The university would join at least 12 other schools that have revoked honorary degrees given to Cosby.

Trachtenberg said he spoke to then-Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin about rescinding the degree and that Loftin spoke with former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe. According to Trachtenberg, Loftin and Wolfe thought the process of withdrawing the degree should start with faculty.

“If the university was going to take away an honorary degree, they felt the process should be begun by faculty, who recommend people in the first place,” Trachtenberg said.

It is unclear if the university has ever stripped someone of an honorary degree.

“If you think about it, we normally give honorary degrees to impressive people,” Trachtenberg said. “They have to do something horrible for us to think about taking that back.”

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