Ohio State University, for the first time in the history of the school, has revoked an honorary degree. Bill Cosby was officially stripped of his degree by the school in response to the disgraced comedian’s sexual assault allegations. Ohio State had bestowed the degree on Cosby when he spoke at the college’s commencement ceremony in 2001.
Ohio State joins a number of other schools in revoking an honorary degree from Cosby; the University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Tufts, Fordham University, Baylor University, Oberlin College, University of San Francisco, and Boston University all took back their symbolic diplomas.
The announcement of the degree’s revocation came just days ahead of Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania. Cosby’s original trial in 2017 ended with a hung jury, and the judge eventually went on to declare a mistrial.
It was a busy morning at the beginning of Cosby’s retrial, as a topless protestor jumped in front of Cosby as he made his way to the courthouse to begin the trial. The woman had also written “Women’s Lives Matter” as well as the names of Cosby’s alleged victims all over her body. She was arrested and taken away by local police. The woman has been identified as Nicolle Rochelle, an actress who once has a minor role on The Cosby Show. She also appeared on a variety of other shows including Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and NYPD Blue.
Opening statements for this trial began on April 9th, 2018, and, according to Judge Steven T. O’Neill, the trial could last a month before the jury starts deliberations on Cosby’s guilt or innocence. Cosby stands accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee, at his Philadelphia area home.