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Howard University revokes Sean Combs' honorary degree amid sexual assault allegations

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Jun 09, 2024 2:50 pm

Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of assaults and acts of violence.

Howard University in Washington, DC has revoked the honorary degree conferred upon Sean "Diddy" Combs as the rap mogul is "no longer worthy to hold the institution's highest honor."

It has also discontinued a scholarship program, returned a $1 million (P58,765,500) donation, and ended a separate 2023 pledge agreement from Combs.

The decision came after the release of a video in which the rapper was seen viciously assaulting singer Cassie Ventura in a hotel corridor in Los Angeles in 2016.

"The Howard University Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to accept the return by Mr. Sean Combs of the honorary degree conferred upon him in 2014. This acceptance revokes all honors and privileges associated with the degree," the statement began.

Accordingly, the Board directed that his name be removed from all documents listing honorary degree recipients of the university as the singer's behavior is "fundamentally incompatible" with the university's core values. Hence, he is deemed "no longer worthy" of holding the institution's highest honor.

"The University is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence," it said.

With these, the university's board wanted to terminate the 2016 gift agreement with Combs immediately, disband the scholarship program in his name, return his $1 million (P58,765,500) contribution, and terminate a 2023 pledge agreement with the Sean Combs Foundation, which as per the Board, has not given money.

"No payments toward the $1 million pledge have been due or made by the Sean Combs Foundation as of this date, therefore no funds are due to be returned under the 2023 pledge agreement."

According to a report by Fox 5 DC, the hip-hop star donated $1 million, or more than 58 million pesos, to the university to establish a scholarship intended for undergraduate business students in need of financial aid.

The scholarship includes internships and mentoring opportunities for his business and entertainment conglomerate.

"The Board and University administration has no further comment on this matter," the statement concluded.

'My behavior on that video is inexcusable'

On May 19, Combs posted a public apology on his Instagram account to Ventura and the rest of his fans, saying that his behavior was inexcusable and that he would take full responsibility for his actions in that video.

"I was disgusted then when I did it. I'm disgusted now," he said.

"I went and I sought out professional help. I got into going to therapy, going to rehab. I had to ask God for his mercy and grace. I'm so sorry. But I'm committed to be a better man each and every day. I'm not asking for forgiveness. I'm truly sorry," the singer continued.

In 2016, surveillance cameras at a hotel in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles, which was obtained exclusively by CNN, showed a clip in which the music producer and businessman appeared to punch, kick, and drag his then-girlfriend Ventura. Their relationship lasted on and off until 2018.

As per The Guardian, Combs paid an "undisclosed sum to settle Ventura's lawsuit" one day after the latter filed it.