Bill Cosby has resigned from Temple University’s board of trustees, the latest evidence of how sexual assault allegations are eviscerating his career and standing as one of the nation’s most beloved entertainers.
Cosby and the Philadelphia-based university confirmed the resignation Monday afternoon with brief statements.
“I have always been proud of my association with Temple University. 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 said.
A statement from the board simply acknowledged: “The Board of Trustees accepts Dr. Cosby’s resignation from the board and thanks him for his service to the university.”
A Philadelphia native, Cosby had a deep personal connection to the school, having attended classes there in the early 1960s before his comedy career took off. He had been a board member for more than 30 years and has been a major financial supporter of the school, with a scholarship program named for Cosby and his wife, Camille Cosby.
But the school had been under pressure from alumni and others to cut its ties to Cosby in the wake of the accusations by more than a dozen women of having been drugged and assaulted after encounters with him. The allegations against the comedian have flared at the same time many colleges and universities are under scrutiny for their handling of sexual assault charges on campus.
Word of Cosby’s resignation from Temple comes as the comedian has been forced to offer refunds to ticket holders for some of his upcoming live performances. He has reportedly agreed to refund hundreds of tickets sold to two shows set for Tarrytown, N.Y., on Dec. 6, according to a report Monday in the White Plains Daily Voice.
Cosby’s schedule of live performances during the past few weeks have been greatly disrupted, with some canceled outright.
Last month he saw the decades-old charges exact a huge toll as NBC dropped a sitcom it was developing for him to star, Netflix yanked a comedy special that was to have premiered Nov. 27 and cabler TV Land tabled reruns of his 1980s family comedy “The Cosby Show.”
Cosby’s lawyers have denied the allegations and decried the “vilification” of his legacy through media coverage as women have come forward.
After Dec. 6, Cosby has no live appearances scheduled until Jan. 7, when he is set to appear at the Centre in the Square theater in Kitchener, Ontario.
The outcry among ticket holders in Tarrytown was so great last week that Cosby through his management agreed to allow the refunds.