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Massachusetts Colleges Cut Ties With Bill Cosby After Rape Claims

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Two Massachusetts colleges have severed ties with Bill Cosby after allegations of sexual assault surfaced, casting a cloud on his legacy as a celebrated entertainer. The University of Massachusetts Amherst asked the 77-year-old comedian to step down as an honorary co-chairman of the school’s fundraising campaign, a university spokesman said Wednesday. Cosby, who received a master’s and doctorate in education from the school, agreed.

"He no longer has any affiliation with the campaign nor does he serve in any other capacity for the university," spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said in a statement.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley had earlier urged UMass in a letter to end its relationship with Cosby "at a time when the state is focused on prevention and response to sexual assaults on campus."

Berklee College of Music in Boston also said Wednesday it ended Cosby’s affiliation with an online scholarship named in his honor. Cosby, who plays the drums and writes music, received an honorary degree from the school in 2004.

Other schools distancing themselves from Cosby include High Point University in North Carolina, which said it has temporarily removed his name from its advisory board. In addition, Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee said Wednesday that Cosby will no longer speak at its annual benefit dinner in December.

Several women in recent weeks have come forward to claim the comedian drugged and raped them or touched them inappropriately in past decades. Cosby has never been charged with a crime. His lawyer has called the allegations "ridiculous" and said it’s "completely illogical" that no one would have made reports to police.

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