I am writing to inform you that the Tufts Board of Trustees has revoked the honorary Doctor of Arts degree conferred on Bill Cosby at Commencement in May 2000. Additionally, the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development has withdrawn the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media awarded to Mr. Cosby in 2011.
The tradition of granting honorary degrees has a long and distinguished history at Tufts. We awarded our first honorary degree in 1858, one year after the first Commencement. Since that time, the Board has bestowed honorary degrees on individuals who have achieved at the highest level of their field and whose character reflects the integrity and personal values that the university expects from members of its own community. Our honorary degree recipients are selected because they serve as worthy models for our graduates and inspirations to all.
Mr. Cosby has demonstrated a lack of character and integrity that clearly does not represent the values to which our university is committed and for which he was honored. Therefore, on the recommendation of its Honorary Degree Committee, the Board voted to revoke his honorary degree, concluding that there is a substantial basis to discredit the accomplishments for which he was recognized 15 years ago.
The Board’s decision was made after lengthy and serious consideration. The Board agreed that revocation was appropriate in light of Mr. Cosby’s conduct, which we now believe to have been inconsistent with the high standards of Tufts University.