Franklin & Marshall College’s board of trustees has revoked the honorary degree it had awarded to Bill Cosby.

The board voted unanimously late last week to revoke the honorary doctorate in humane letters he had been awarded in May 2000, when he gave the commencement speech.

College spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said President Dan Porterfield had read a deposition from an old lawsuit released this summer and brought the matter to the board.

The deposition, Carlisle said, “detailed events that were really egregiously in contrast to the college and our educational mission.”

In the deposition, Cosby admitted to extramarital relationships with several women, some of whom accuse him of sexual assault, according to The Associated Press.

Cosby, 78, has never been charged with a crime.

For the past year, he and his attorneys have denied or refused to comment as dozens of women went public with stories of sexual assault dating back to the 1960s.

The 33-member board of trustees is the only college entity that can award or revoke a degree, Carlisle said.

A board task force brought its findings to the full board during its regular meeting from Thursday to Saturday, Carlisle said.

The comedian’s representatives have been notified, but haven’t responded to the board’s decision, Carlisle said.

When Cosby spoke at the college’s commencement, he also gave the school $100,000 to create a scholarship.

The college is checking if it is possible to return the money, Carlisle said.

The money has been used to fund an occasional scholarship for graduates going on to study at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York.

A review of LNP archives didn’t turn up any other instances of Cosby delivering commencement addresses to colleges in Lancaster County.

He last spoke here in May 2013, at McCaskey High School for a fundraiser for the Lancaster Education Foundation.

The foundation gives scholarships to students and grants to teachers and raises funds for the School District of Lancaster.

F&M is among a growing number of colleges that have rescinded degrees given to Cosby.

Most recently, Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, Goucher College in Baltimore and Lehigh University have revoked degrees.

In December, amid widening allegations, Cosby resigned from the board of trustees of Temple University in Philadelphia.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst also has cut ties with Cosby, who earned a master's degree and a doctorate in education there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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