• U.S.

Colleges Cut Ties with Bill Cosby Amidst Sexual Assault Allegations

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Several U.S. universities and colleges have cut ties with Bill Cosby amidst allegations that the veteran comedian drugged and raped multiple women over his decades-long career in the media spotlight.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, where Cosby received his masters and doctorate degrees in education, asked the high-profile entertainer to leave his post as an honorary co-chairman of the school’s fundraising campaign, NBC News reports.

“Bill Cosby has agreed to resign as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst’s capital campaign,” said Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesman for the school, in a statement. “He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university.”

Yet the University of Massachusetts Amherst had on Tuesday said there were no plans to remove Cosby from the fundraising board. The Associated Press reports that Cosby gave a benefit performance at the university in 2004 that raised $1.5 million and along with his wife has donated between $250,000 and $499,999 to the school.

Dozens of colleges, including The University of Massachusetts Amherst, are under federal investigation for mishandling sexual assault claims, and schools have been at pains this week to distance themselves from the 77-year-old celebrity and philanthropist to higher education following accusations that he serially sexually assaulted women for years.

Indeed, Boston’s Berklee College of Music also on Wednesday axed Cosby’s relationship with a scholarship named after him. Meanwhile, High Point University in North Carolina scrubbed his name from its advisory board, and Tennessee’s Freed-Hardeman University canceled plans to have him speak at a benefit dinner next month, NBC reports.

Cosby has not been charged with a crime, and his lawyer has strongly refuted all the allegations.

He remains a trustee at Philadelphia’s Temple University, where he received his undergraduate degree and also met Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2004.

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Write to Elizabeth Barber at elizabeth.barber@timeasia.com