Bradley University President Gary Roberts says the University will not rescind an honorary degree presented to comedian Bill Cosby.
Cosby was presented the degree in 2003 when he spoke during Bradley’s May commencement.
Jurors in Pennsylvania convicted Cosby April 26 of drugging and molesting a Temple University employee at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.
Roberts, in an opinion piece published Friday in the Journal Star, said, “If the university could turn back the clock and not provide (Cosby) with that honor, it would do so.”
However, Roberts said that Bradley University has no rules for revoking either a regular or honorary degree. “Thus Bradley has never rescinded or revoked a degree. It should not start now.”
Roberts said what the University can do is denounce an individual.
“Going forward Bradley University wants nothing to do with Cosby and herby disassociates itself completely from him.”
Roberts goes on to say, “Bradley conferred on Cosby an honorary degree in good faith for his accomplishments at the time. To try to unring that bell would be unwise and inappropriate, albeit easy and popular.”
Denouncing Cosby and disassociating itself from him is “as far as Bradley should go in expressing its disgust,” Roberts said.
Roberts says revoking Cosby’s honorary degree would be “getting on the crowded bandwagon” and “would be a ‘feel good’ publicity stunt that runs counter to Bradley’s commitment to rule of law – to the consistent application of established policies that apply equally to everyone.”
“Doing the right thing to preserve principles and systems that sometimes protect even bad people in order to protect fairness for everyone is not always popular, but it is still the right thing to do.”