UMass Amherst cuts ties with alumnus Bill Cosby amid rape allegations
(CNN) — The University of Massachusetts Amherst and its alumnus Bill Cosby have split ways amid allegations of sexual assault and rape.
At least 15 women have spoken out to various media outlets accusing the comedian of sexual misconduct.
“Bill Cosby has agreed to resign as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst’s capital campaign. He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university,” said Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesman for the school.
Cosby got his master’s and doctorate in education from the university in the 1970s.
Many of the women accusing Cosby say he drugged them before he raped them. Some of the alleged attacks took place decades ago.
The 77-year-old comedian has denied some of the allegations and refused to discuss others. He has never been prosecuted.
The accusations have taken their toll on Cosby’s reputation as the beloved Dr. Huxtable — the sweet, sweater-wearing father on the sitcom, “The Cosby Show.”
They’ve also hit his earnings, as Netflix postponed a stand-up comedy special and NBC also decided against moving forward with a Cosby project.
A lawyer for Cosby has called the increasing number of claims of sexual assault against the comedian “ridiculous” and said the media should stop airing “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
Martin D. Singer said in a written statement sent to CNN that it defies common sense that “so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.”
One of Cosby’s accusers, Andrea Constand, did file a civil suit.
In January 2004, Constand, then a 31-year-old staffer for the women’s basketball team at Temple University — Cosby’s alma mater — was at the comedian’s Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, home when Cosby provided her medication that made her dizzy, she alleged the following year.
She later woke up to find her bra undone and her clothes in disarray, she further alleged to police in her home province of Ontario, Canada, in January 2005.
Though Cosby’s attorney initially called Constand’s claim “utterly preposterous” and no charges were filed, Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand that alleged 13 Jane Does had similar stories of sexual abuse.
When Cosby attorney John Schmitt sent out a blanket denial of several allegations that have cropped up recently, he later amended his denial to say he wasn’t referring to Constand, who resolved her differences “to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago.”