Howard University has released a statement in response to the public outcry over incoming Dean Phylicia Rashad‘s Tweet, which seems to support Bill Cosby’s release from prison.
The Cosby Show actress posted a Tweet soon after news broke that Cosby’s sex assault convicton was overturned. “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” it read.
Rashad posted another Tweet three hours after the first, expressing support for survivors. “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,” she said.
Many people also expressed concern over how Rashad would handle sexual assault allegations in her role as dean of Howard University’s fine arts college. Howard appointed Rashad of the reestablished Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts last May.
Howard University released a statement disavowing Rashad’s tweet on Wednesday (June 30) night. It reads, “Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority. 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.”
The university added that “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,” they 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.”