USA--Nearly 30 colleges still honor Bill Cosby
For immediate release: Friday, July 1, 2016
Nearly 30 colleges still honor Bill Cosby
They’re in 16 states from ME to CA to GA
Victims beg universities to rescind actor’s degrees
SNAP: “Ignoring his crimes rubs salt into deep wounds”
Group also says degrees “send chilling message to others in pain
A support group for abuse victims is calling on 28 US colleges, from coast to coast, to rescind honors they’ve given to Bill Cosby to ‘help reduce the helplessness and hopelessness felt by millions of victims of sexual violence” and “make it easier for those in pain to come forward, report criminals and deter crime.
In the wake of more than 50 allegations of rape, abuse and sexual exploitation by the controversial comedian and actor, last week the University of Connecticut became the latest of dozens of universities to withdraw an honorary degree it had conferred on Cosby.
But almost 30 schools have yet to take similar steps. They include large and small institutions, private and public, in 16 states: CA, NY, MA, PA, GA, OH, VA, IN, AL, ME, CT, IN, MS, NC, MD and DE.
“There’s no better time than now for schools to rescind honors given to 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,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director.
A congressman wants to take back Cosby’s Medal of Freedom.
“We applaud Rep. Paul Gosar for siding with the innocent against the guilty,” said Melanie Sakoda a Bay area SNAP leader. “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is needed to put Cosby behind bars. It’s not needed to revoke an honor.”
The institutions that have revoked Cosby honors include Fordham, Goucher, Baylor, the University of San Francisco, Marquette and California State University.
Cosby has stepped down from the Temple University Board of Trustees. Months ago, the University of Missouri said it was considering rescinding a degree it gave to Cosby.
“We applaud every institution that has rescinded Cosby’s honorary degrees. It’s time these 28 colleges and the federal government do the same,” said Dorris.
“We make society safer when we revoke honors for rapists, whether convicted or credibly accused,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director. “We make it easier for victims of sexual violence to speak up, get help, expose offenders and protect others.
“It’s bogus for officials to claim ‘We have never revoked such an honor before,’ said Sakoda. “A college president 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, SNAP says, officials are making it harder for many rape victims to report their experiences. “And they’re rubbing salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of dozens of already-hurt victims of sexual violence,” said Clohessy.
“For the healing of the wounded and the protection of the vulnerable, Cosby’s honors 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,” said Karen Polesir of Amber PA.
Several Chicago-area institutions have rescinded or removed honors for ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Congressional leaders quietly removed Hastert’s portrait from the Capital.
“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,” said Dorris.
According to “The Wrap,” these schools have yet to reverse themselves on Cosby.
Virginia Commonwealth University, -- Richmond, VA
Carnegie Mellon University, -- Pittsburgh, PA
University of Pennsylvania, -- Philadelphia, PA
Yale University, -- New Haven, CT
Berklee College of Music, -- Boston, MA
Sisseton Wahpeton College, -- Sisseton, SD
West Chester University of Pennsylvania, -- West Chester, PA
Paine College, -- Augusta, GA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, -- Troy, NY
University of Cincinnati, -- Cincinnati, OH
Colgate College, -- Hamilton, NY
University of Southern California, 1998 -- Los Angeles, CA
Talladega College, -- Talladega, AL
Boston College, -- Chestnut Hill, MA
Colby College, -- Waterville, ME
Wesleyan University, -- Middletown, CT
Notre Dame, -- South Bend, IN
The College of William and Mary, -- Williamsburg, VA
Temple University, 1991 -- Philadelphia, PA
Rust College, 1990 -- Holly Springs, MS
Pepperdine University, -- Malibu, CA
Old Dominion University, -- Norfolk, VA
Ohio State University, -- Columbus, OH
North Carolina A&T State University, -- Greensboro, NC
Johns Hopkins, -- Baltimore, MD
Cooper Union, -- New York, NY
Delaware State University, -- Dover, DE
Fashion Institute of Technology, -- New York, NY
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, email@example.com)
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.