Spelman College, the historically black women’s college in Atlanta, suspended its Cosby Chair for the Humanities Sunday in light of more accusations of sexual misconduct levied against Bill Cosby.

The position was one of the most prized in black academia, funded by a $20 million endowment given by the Cosbys in 1987. It was the single largest donation ever given to a historically black college or university. Cosby’s daughters attended Spelman, and the donation helped fund the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center.

“The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelman College in order to enhance our intellectual, cultural and creative life,” a Spelman representative told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The current context prevents us from continuing to meet these objectives fully. Consequently, we will suspend the program until such time that the original goals can again be met.”

Prior to Sunday, Spelman was seen as the lone holdout among a growing list of institutions that moved to distance themselves from Cosby. Cosby no longer sits on the boards of Temple or the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the U.S. Navy revoked the honorary title it had bestowed upon him. More than 25 women have come forward publicly accusing Cosby of drugging and or sexually assaulting them. Most recently, model Beverly Johnson published an account in Vanity Fair in which she alleged Cosby had drugged her. She will appear live on ABC’s “The View” today.

Earlier this month, Judy Huth filed a civil suit against the actor, alleging he molested her when she was 15 years old. Another accuser, Tamara Green, recently filed a federal defamation suit against Cosby for publicly portraying her as a liar.

Cosby has repeatedly denied allegations through his attorney, Martin Singer. He’s now retaining the services of Hiltzik Strategies, a New York crisis management firm.

On Friday, Cosby spoke exclusively to the Washington Informer, a black newspaper. “I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind,” he said.

Wrote Stacy M. Brown:

Surprisingly, Cosby sounded upbeat and even somewhat delighted to speak with a reporter, despite his team’s wishes that he remain quiet and also despite being under such intense scrutiny.
When reminded that The Informer has balanced its reporting of the scandal by including the perspective of his many supporters in the District’s African-American community, Cosby said he’d make sure that his team treats those reporters as “royalty.”
“No,” Cosby insisted, “I’m telling you, I will tell [my team] to treat you as royalty.”

Despite the many women who came forward previously, including model Janice Dickinson, Johnson’s piece, published Dec. 11, set shockwaves through the black community. Johnson, the first African-American woman to appear on the cover of Vogue, has a decades-long reputation for reserve and professionalism. Her account stunned many.

For some, Johnson offered more credible evidence against the embattled comedian and actor than the barrage of accusations that had previously surfaced. For those doubtful of the accusations by Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, Green and others, Johnson’s status as a practically unassailable icon in the black community also made her a “perfect victim.”

There was evidence online of lingering black skepticism toward accusations leveled at Cosby among celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen and Jill Scott, who all defended Cosby to varying degrees, and among others who raised the question of whether Cosby was strategically targeted.

Kimberly C. Ellis holds a doctorate in American and Africana Studies and tweets as @drgoddess. She is writing a book called “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter.” In exchanges on social media on Dec. 1, Ellis was careful to state she believed Cosby’s alleged victims, but that the campaign to erase the enterprises he built, including “The Cosby Show,” were couched in anti-blackness. She was promptly challenged.

With his comments Sunday to the Informer, it appeared Cosby was trading on doubts rooted in the idea that high-profile black men eventually become targets whose success makes them modern-day Icaruses. This was a concern that Johnson eloquently voiced in Vanity Fair. The model wrote:

I struggled with how to reveal my big secret, and more importantly, what would people think when and if I did? Would they dismiss me as an angry black woman intent on ruining the image of one of the most revered men in the African American community over the last 40 years? Or would they see my open and honest account of being betrayed by one of the country’s most powerful, influential, and beloved entertainers?

With those two sentences, Johnson called to mind the circumstances surrounding another high-profile man accused of sexual misconduct: Clarence Thomas.

When Anita Hill accused Thomas of repeated sexual harassment in testimony during Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thomas referred to it as a “high-tech lynching.”

“When it comes to sexual conduct, we still have underlined racial attitudes about black men and their view of sex, and once you pin that on me, I can’t get it off,” Thomas said in his Senate hearing. “These are charges that play into racist, bigoted stereotypes and these are the types of charges that are impossible to wash off.”

Just as Goldberg and Scott vociferously defended Cosby, a highly respected black woman defended Thomas: Maya Angelou, who in an op-ed column for the Baltimore Sun endorsed Thomas’s nomination to the Court.

“In a struggle between himself and a woman of his same race, Thomas executed a deft strategy,” wrote historian and “The History of White People” author Nell Irvin Painter. “He erected a tableau of white-black racism that allowed him to occupy the position of ‘the race.’ By reintroducing concepts of white power, Thomas made himself into ‘the black person’ in his story. Then, in the first move of a two-step strategy, he cast Anita Hill into the role of ‘black-woman-as-traitor-to-the-race.'”