The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where Bill Cosby was awarded a doctorate more than 35 years ago, has asked him to resign as an honorary co-chair of the school’s capital campaign. Cosby agreed to step down. The action comes after at least two other universities took action to sever ties with Cosby, who has been accused by numerous women of drugging and sexually assaulting them years ago. Berklee College of Music in Boston, where Cosby was awarded an honorary degree a decade ago, announced that it would no longer award a scholarship in Cosby’s name, and High Point University in North Carolina has removed him from its national board of advisers, the Boston Globe reported. Cosby was awarded a Ph.D. in education in 1977 at the the University of Massachusetts at Amherst school after completing his thesis titled “An Integration of the Visual Media Via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972) into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.” The awarding of the doctorate — through an unconventional program for successful professionals who could earn credit through work — became controversial after a former member of his doctoral thesis committee wrote that Cosby did little course work toward his doctorate and was awarded credit for doing things such as appearing on Sesame Street. The besieged Cosby had been serving as an honorary co-chair of the university’s current $300 million fundraising campaign, but that relationship has now been severed. Ed Blaguszewski, executive director of news and media relations for the university, sent the following statement in an e-mail late Thursday:
UMass Amherst’s capital campaign. He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university.
Earlier in the week, Blaguszewski sent the following statement in response to questions about his doctorate and whether the program in which he was enrolled was still operating:
Cosby earned his doctorate in education in 1977 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, meeting all of the requirements established by the School of Education, including completion and defense of his dissertation.
Cosby is still a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple University, where he attended for a time as an undergraduate and dropped out but was later given a bachelor’s degree for “life experience.” However, NewsWorks.com reported that a 2005 alumni of the school has launched an online campaign to pressure the board to drop him as a member.