Howard University released a statement on Thursday, disavowing a tweet by Dean Phylicia Rashad, in which she hailed the overturning of her former co-star Bill Cosby‘s sexual assault conviction.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first priority,” the historically Black university said in its release over Twitter.
“While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity 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. 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,” continued the university’s tweet.
— Howard University (@HowardU) July 1, 2021
Rashad, best known for playing Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show and an alumna of Howard, was appointed the new dean of the school’s College of Fine Arts less than two months ago.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” wrote Rashad on Twitter.
After she came under fire on Twitter following her commentary, the actress shared another message, saying “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
On Wednesday, Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his sexual assault conviction, saying the 83-year-old’s due process rights were violated.
The actor previously known as “America’s Dad” was sentenced in 2018 to 3 to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.
I don't even understand what Phylicia Rashad was doing.
I don't get the why of *this* support.
60 women said this man raped them.
We're just disregarding *sixty* voices?
— fooler initiative (@metroadlib) July 1, 2021