Bill Cosby has been been member of the Temple University Board of Trustees for 32 years. But now, amid allegations of sexual misconduct and rape, Cosby has stepped down.
"I have always been proud of my association with Temple University," Cosby said. "I have always wanted to do what would be in the best interests of the university and its students. As a result, I have tendered my resignation from the Temple University Board of Trustees."
Cosby attended Temple University in his younger days, and even played football for the university. He did not graduate, but left when his comedy career took off. He has supported Temple for many years, including funding a scholarship there with his wife, Camille.
For their part, Temple issued a short statement accepting Cosby’s resignation.
"The Board of Trustees accepts Dr. Cosby’s resignation from the board and thanks him for his service to the university," the statement said.
One of Cosby’s attorneys, Patrick O’Connor, said Cosby made the choice in an effort to protect Temple from the mess he currently finds himself in.
"He didn't want his personal issue to detract from his service to Temple," O'Connor said. "He was a great trustee. I thanked him for his service.” O'Connor added, "He didn't comment on the allegations (Monday). They were from (as long as) 50 years ago."
O’Connor is currently the chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees.
Temple alum Kerry McCormick started an online petition to pressure Temple to sever its ties with Cosby. Her petition had gotten just under 1,100 of its 1,500 signature goal when Cosby separated himself form the Board. She criticized Temple for not separating itself from Cosby when the allegations first surfaced in 2005, especially since O’Connor represented Cosby in one of those cases.
Her statement to Temple reads:
Bill Cosby, alleged rapist of at least 15 women, including a former Temple University employee, continues to be a trustee of Temple University. He spoke at the 2014 Temple University commencement. As recently as August of this year, he was honored by Temple.
It's time for Temple to recognize that continuing its relationship with Bill Cosby is damaging to its own reputation, as well as its students, employees and alumni. It's time for Temple University to sever its ties with this man. Temple should not be the last organization to end its relationship with Bill Cosby - it should have happened in 2005 when the allegations against him first began to surface.
I'm a Temple alum and I want to be able to be proud of my alma mater once again. Please sign my petition to join me in asking Temple to permanently end their relationship with Bill Cosby.