Spelman College has benefited a great deal from Bill Cosby's financial contributions—he donated an unprecedented $20 million to the school in 1988. There's an academic center named after Cosby and his wife Camille. He delivered Spelman's commencement speech in 2006. But like other universities, the women's college in Atlanta now has to figure out just how much they want to be associated with an alleged rapist.
After the sexual assault allegations against Cosby resurfaced, Netflix and TV Land were among the entertainment entities that publicly severed ties with Cosby. On the education side, The Detroit News reports that North Carolina's High Point University took Cosby off its National Board of Advisors, and Berklee College of Music announced that they're "no longer awarding an online scholarship in Mr. Cosby's name."
An official from Spelman — which received a $20 million gift from Cosby and his wife Camille — tells TMZ they have not had a single conversation to change anything regarding the Cosby's relationship with the college in the wake of the torrent of sexual assault allegations.
The school, which also established the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professorship Program, notes the Cosby gift was made more than 25 years ago and the relationship is cemented.
TMZ's headline, "Spelman College — We Still Have Your Back," is a little misleading. Support is different from "we haven't discussed it yet." The Washington Post reported that "the president's office would not say whether the endowed professorship named for Cosby and his wife would continue."
When I called the Spelman Media department this morning, the representative said they had no comment.
The school's officials have to, at the least, be discussing how to move forward with their association with Cosby. This Washington Post quote from Aku Kadogo, the Cosby Endowed Professor in the Arts at Spelman, doesn't help:
"I'm not worried about being the Cosby chair. It's not a worry to me. It's a difficult time for him. But it ain't the end of the world. If Hillary can run for president — she went through all that rigmarole. People forget easily."
Cosby's Spelman donation and university support has kept him in good graces in the public eye over the years, even with his bullshit "pull up your pants" politics.
Meanwhile, the rape allegations have been notably brushed over. In his biography, Cosby: His Life and Times, released in September, author Mark Whitaker skipped over the sexual assault cases. The oversight didn't sit well with Amazon customers. Salon reports:
On the book's Amazon page, a series of pointed one-star reviews of the book take Whitaker to task for whitewashing the subject:
- "This book belongs on the same shelf as Jerry Sandusky's "Touched.""
- "The Catholic Church NEEDS a biography like this."
- "A true crime book that somehow omits the actual crimes."
- "Writing a life of Cosby without tackling the charges against him of rape and abuse is like writing about Nixon without touching Watergate, or writing a history of Pan Am without mentioning Lockerbie. It's an unforgivable lapse that marginalizes the work."
For his part, Whitaker recently told the Daily Beast, "...obviously the story has changed, and I'm going to have to address that in future editions of the book, if not sooner." He also tweeted this:
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