Howard University released a statement Wednesday after their dean voiced support for Bill Cosby after the disgraced celebrity was released from prison and his sexual assault conviction was overturned.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Cosby’s release from prison on Wednesday. Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
“Finally!!!! a terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected,” tweeted Phylicia Rashad, Cosby’s longtime TV wife and dean of Howard University’s fine arts college.
Rashad later followed up with a second tweet Wednesday saying she supports survivors of sexual assault coming forward.
“My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” Rashad said. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Howard University released a statement Wednesday, calling Rashad’s comments insensitive towards survivors of sexual assault.
“Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard,” the university said. “Howard will stand with survivors and challenge systems that would deny them justice. We have full confidence that our faculty and school leadership will live up to this sacred commitment.”
“Why would she do this? Why? I mean there’s no upside to this,” said Denise Krepp, DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, according to CNBC. “There’s certainly no upside to Howard students seeing this. Absolutely not.”
Howard University previously announced Rashad was taking a position as the new dean for the Fine Arts College in May, according to CNBC.
“We’re really concerned particularly for Black survivors,” said Indira Henard, the executive director of the DC Rape Crisis Center, according to CNBC. “Howard University is an HBCU and so we know the intersectionality of sexual violence and race, and so, this adds to that.”
Bill Cosby affirmed that he is innocent on Wednesday after his release.
“I have never changed my stance nor my story,” Cosby said of his release from prison. “I have always maintained my innocence.”
Some celebrities reacted to the news by saying Cosby is still guilty despite his release.
“HE HAS NOT BEEN EXONERATED. His release means that Cosby, a sexual predator, was incarcerated within a criminal legal system that has as little regard for its own rules and procedures as Cosby does for his victims,” Marc Hill said.
“Bill Cosby was not put in prison because he was a Black man he was put in prison because he drugged and raped many women for decades,” Rosanna Arquette said.
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