SUNY Trustees revoke honorary degrees for Cosby & Levine

May 3, 2018

The SUNY Board of Trustees has revoked two honorary degrees given to comedian and actor Bill Cosby and former Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the board vote Thursday in favor of rescinding the honors.

A SUNY resolution called to revoked Cosby's honorary degree from the SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology awarded in 2000. Cosby was found guilty on all counts last week of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, and there are other allegations from women.

SUNY Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.
Credit Photo from SUNY Webcast

James Levine received his honorary degrees jointly from the SUNY Colleges of Optometry and SUNY Potsdam in 1996.  Levine was fired from the opera company after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

"Since late November 2017, however, dozens of former students have come forward and accused Dr. Levine of sexual abuse and harassment dating back to the mid 1980's," stated SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

Levine denies the allegations. Cosby's lawyers say they will appeal his case. But Chancellor Johnson said the conduct is against the mission of its universities.

"The  volume of complaints and egregious nature of the alleged misconduct violates the very principles upon which an honorary degree is based," Johnson.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson & SUNY Chair Carl McCall at Thursfay’s Meeting.
Credit Photo from SUNY Webcast

Last November the SUNY Board also revoked the honorary degree given to Miramax Films Harvey Weinstein from the University at Buffalo, and in January revoked the honorary degree given to talk-show host Charlie Rose, both also accused of sexual harassment.