We recently discussed the ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturning the conviction of Bill Cosby. While the Court differed on what errors warranted such action, all of the justices agreed that the trial was fundamentally flawed. Indeed, it was a disgrace and Cosby could sue for malicious prosecution. Yet, the incoming dean of Howard University’s fine arts college, Phylicia Rashad, is under attack for declaring her support for Cosby. Rashad played Bill Cosby’s TV wife on “The Cosby Show.” Fortune reported that there are calls for her resignation. Update: Rashad issued a profuse apology and deleted the tweet.
Rashad tweeted “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!”
Some have questioned, according to CNBC, “how she might handle sexual assault allegations in her role as dean.”
However, many of us were critical of the trial and it was an injustice. That is why it was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That does not mean that Cosby is innocent. I do not believe he was innocent given his incriminating depositions. However, as I said in a prior posting, Bill Cosby is the ultimate example that you do not have to be entirely innocent to be wrongly convicted.
The prior prosecutor did not believe that he could convict Cosby on the evidence available. He instead promised not to prosecute to effectively force Cosby into giving four civil depositions. Even a guilty person can be the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Many believe Cosby is innocent. Many of us believe he is guilty. However, he was denied a fair trial and that made this a miscarriage of justice, as declared by the state Supreme Court.
Rashad responded to the calls for her resignation by insisting that she will fight for the survivors of sexual assault.
Her resignation would be a terrible mistake. I know little about Dean Rashad beyond her television career. However, a resignation would yield to the growing cancel culture on our campuses. She has every right to express her support for Cosby and considerable justification in describing this trial as a miscarriage of justice. She and I may disagree about the merits of these claims from 50 women, but higher education thrives on a diversity of such viewpoints.