In the wake of the sexual scandal surrounding comedian and entertainer Bill Cosby, Spelman College has decided to cancel a professorship funded by the said actor, BBC has learned. Back in December 2014, Spelman College had said that the college only decided to suspend the said program.
During that time, the college had issued a statement saying, “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; however, 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.”
But now, it seems the college has decided to cut ties with Cosby altogether.
As various women came forward and accused Cosby of drugging them and proceeding to touch them inappropriately, Spelman’s president first issued a statement with regard to these allegations back in November 2014.
Back then, Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum had stated, “The College is not in a position to comment regarding the allegations. The College’s primary connection with the Cosby family is the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Ed.D. Academic Center, which opened at Spelman College in 1996. At the time, an endowed professorship named for Drs. Cosby was also established to support visiting scholars in the fine arts, humanities and social sciences as well as Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art. The academic center and endowed professorship were funded through a philanthropic commitment from the Cosby family made more than 25 years ago, and at this time there are no discussions regarding changes to the terms of the gift.”
The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby professorship is actually named after both the actor and his wife. Meanwhile, there is also a building in the college that has been named after Dr. Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby. Back in 1998, Cosby presented Spelman College with a sizable gift of $20 million. It was said to be from the entire Cosby family. Moreover, two Cosby daughters have attended Spelman College, reflecting a long relationship between the college and the Cosby’s.
Nonetheless, Tatum did not hesitate to emphasize the college’s stance on sexual assault. She wrote, “Though it is not appropriate for the College to comment publicly on specific allegations against any individual, sexual assault is a profoundly serious issue for any educational institution. Please know that we do not condone sexual violence in any form and understand our critical role as a women’s college to lead in the fight against it. I trust you will read all news media critically, informed by these facts. ”
Recently, BBC has learned that Spelman is now returning what is left of Cosby’s monetary donation. Just recently, Spelman College has also announced on its Twitter page that it has received a record donation of over $19 million from its donors for its fiscal year 2015.
Spelman donors set a new record in Fiscal Year 2015 by contributing $19,518,668 to the College! Thank you! pic.twitter.com/dMoyrOmau5
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) July 15, 2015
Today, over 2,100 female students attend the college.