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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby speaks during his visit to Claflin University in 2014.

The Claflin University Board of Trustees voted to rescind the honorary doctoral degree it gave to TV star Bill Cosby.

In an official statement, the university said Cosby’s conduct was “inconsistent with university values.”

“Claflin University Board of Trustees voted to revoke the honorary doctoral degree it conferred to William (Bill) Cosby in 1999 during its summer meeting on June 22, 2018. The Board’s decision followed Mr. Cosby’s conviction of sexual assault. According to the Board, Mr. Cosby's conduct was inconsistent with University values.”

The decision comes after university officials told The State newspaper in early May that they had "no policy to rescind honorary degrees."

Cosby was the keynote speaker at Claflin's 1999 commencement ceremony in honor of his friend, the late Bobby Hubbard, a Claflin alum. Cosby also attended the university's 2014 Visionary Leadership Gala.

Claflin is not the only university in the state to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Cosby. The University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina both rescinded honorary degrees they had conferred on Cosby.

Claflin also joins the ranks of other historically black colleges and universities that elected to do the same, including North Carolina A&T State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Howard University, Hampton University and Dillard University.

Nationally, more than 50 colleges and universities have rescinded honorary degrees they awarded Cosby, including his alma mater, Temple University; Yale University; Northwestern University; Marquette University; and Claflin’s sister school, Boston University.

Cosby has been awarded more than 70 honorary degrees from schools throughout the United States, and many of them have been revoked since his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5516.


Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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