Brown University has revoked an honorary degree awarded to the comedian Bill Cosby in the wake of allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a series of women, allegations Cosby has repeatedly denied.
Brown President Christina Paxson, in an email to the campus community, explained the reason for the action, taken by the university's Board of Fellows.
"It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown," Paxson wrote.
Brown awarded the honorary degree to Cosby in 1985, but Paxson said Friday was the first time the Board of Fellows had met since deposition testimony revealed over the summer that Cosby had admitted to giving Quaaludes to some women during sexual encounters.
Paxson said that runs counter to the reason for awarding the honorary doctorate of humane letters to Cosby, which cited his embrace of values such as "honesty, fair play, love of family, and respect for humanity.”
Brown becomes the third university in the past week to revoke an honorary degree to Cosby, joining Marquette and Fordham University.
Cosby has never been convicted of sexual assault, but several women have come forward with graphic descriptions of behavior that includes using his position in the entertainment industry and, at times, drugs, to lure them into sex.
Paxson said revoking an honorary degree is not something the university takes lightly, but the board felt that in this case it was not only justified, but "in the best interest of the University, its values and mission."
"I expect and understand that not all members of the Brown community will agree with this decision," Pasxon wrote.