Published 11/12/15

University revokes Bill Cosby's honorary degree

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Throughout its 153-year history, Bryant University, formerly Bryant College, has bestowed honorary degrees upon individuals of accomplishment and distinction, recognizing their character, leadership, and contributions to society. At Commencement Ceremonies in May 1994, Bryant conferred an honorary degree upon William H. Cosby, Jr.

Through his own statements in legal depositions that have recently become public, Mr. Cosby has admitted engaging in conduct that materially conflicts with values that the Bryant community upholds. The Bryant Board of Trustees considers this an extremely serious matter. The consideration of whether or not to revoke any degree from this university is guided by a process of thoughtful deliberation and fairness.

The Bryant Trustees Honorary Degree Committee carefully studied the facts and reviewed the details of this matter, and recommended to the Board the revocation of Mr. Cosby's honorary degree.  After further study and deliberation, the Bryant University Board of Trustees determined that the egregious conduct that Mr. Cosby has acknowledged in a public deposition is inconsistent with the character, values, and behavior that we expect of an honorary degree holder. As a result, the Bryant University Board of Trustees has accepted the recommendation of its Honorary Degree Committee and has voted to revoke the honorary degree conferred upon William H. Cosby, Jr. by Bryant College.

We feel strongly that this is a timely and appropriate action. In revoking Mr. Cosby’s honorary degree we uphold the values, character, and mission of Bryant University.