The decision marks the first time the Ivy League university has rescinded an honorary degree since its founding in 1701. The 19-member board voted on Tuesday to take back the comedian’s honorary doctorate of humane letters, awarded in 2003, according to a statement released by a university spokesman.
“The decision is based on a court record providing clear and convincing evidence of conduct that violates fundamental standards of decency shared by all members of the Yale community, conduct that was unknown to the board at the time the degree was awarded,” the statement said. “The board took this decision following Mr. Cosby’s criminal conviction after he was afforded due process.”
The statement continued: “Yale is committed to both the elimination of sexual misconduct and the adherence to due process. We reaffirm that commitment with our action today.”
A jury in suburban Philadelphia on Thursday convicted Cosby of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University basketball coach, in 2004.
More than 25 other schools, including Brown University and Boston College, also have rescinded honorary degrees they had given to Cosby. Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater, rescinded an honorary doctorate the day after the jury’s verdict.