PA--Two colleges must rescind Bill Cosby honor, victims say
For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015
As the year ends, there’s no better time than now for Temple and Cheyney universities to rescind honors the schools have given to disgraced rapist Bill Cosby. It would help victims of sexual violence heal. And it would help prevent more sexual violence, by making it easier for rape victims to report these heinous crimes.
Earlier this month, Swarthmore and Drexel University revoked similar honors. This year, other institutions including Fordham, Goucher, Baylor, the University of San Francisco, Marquette and California State University have taken similar steps.
And last December, Cosby stepped down from the Temple University Board of Trustees.
The University of Missouri is considering doing rescinding a degree it gave to Cosby.
We applaud Swarthmore College officials for rescinding Bill Cosby’s honorary degree and Drexel University officials for doing so weeks ago. It’s time the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Missouri and every other institution to do the same.
We make society safer when we revoke honors for rapists, whether convicted or credibly accused. We make it easier for victims of sexual violence to speak up, get help, expose offenders and protect others.
It’s bogus for Penn officials to claim “We haven’t ever revoked a degree before.” First, that’s not true (as Philly Magazine’s Monica Weymouth has pointed out). Second, it’s irrelevant. The university has probably never before honored a prominent entertainer who later was accused of raping, drugging and abusing dozens of women.
By refusing to take action, school officials are making it harder for current victims of campus sex crimes to report their experiences. And they’re rubbing salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of dozens of already-hurt students and alums.
For the healing of the wounded and the protection of the vulnerable, Cosby’s honor should be withdrawn. It serves no purpose now but to heap more pain on those already suffering and discourage them from reporting offenders and getting help.
Recently, several Chicago-area institutions have rescinded or removed honors for ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert. We’re grateful to them for this. It’s a sensitive move. We hope Penn officials will follow their example soon. And we hope Penn students and staff will prod the school’s hierarchy to do this.
Adults have a simple choice: Do we make it easier or harder for victims to report crimes? Honoring wrongdoers makes it harder. And that’s wrong.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Penn, Are You Serious About Not Revoking Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degree?
On a campus where 27 percent of women report being sexually assaulted, the hesitation is unacceptable.
BY MONICA WEYMOUTH | NOVEMBER 10, 2015 Daily Times News
When the Association of American Universities released its survey on sexual assault in September, Penn President Amy Gutmann called the findings “deeply troubling.”
Deeply troubling, indeed. Although the numbers weren’t unique to Penn — results were “deeply troubling” across the board — that didn’t make them any easier to take in.
A staggering 27 percent of undergraduate women who responded to the survey reported that they had been sexually assaulted at Penn. A full two-thirds reported that they were subject to sexual harassment. Less than half said they thought it was "very or extremely likely" that Penn would take a report of sexual assault seriously, and only about a third were confident that the university would conduct a fair investigation.
To summarize: . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.