HomeEducation#Howard University Revokes Sean Combs’ Honorary Degree and Scholarship He Funded

#Howard University Revokes Sean Combs’ Honorary Degree and Scholarship He Funded


Howard University on Friday announced that it has revoked the honorary degree it gave to Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2014, discontinued a scholarship program named after the rap mogul and returned a $1m donation from him, citing the video which showed him violently attacking singer Cassie Ventura in the hallway of a Los Angeles hotel.

“Mr Combs’ behavior … is so fundamentally incompatible with Howard University’s core values and beliefs that he is deemed no longer worthy to hold the institution’s highest honor,” the Washington DC school said in a statement. “The university is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence.”

Combs, 54, had attended Howard for two years before dropping out in 1990. He served as the revered, historically Black institution’s commencement speaker the same year that it bestowed an honorary doctorate upon the three-time Grammy winner.

Two years after that, in 2016, Combs revealed he had donated $1m to Howard so that the university could create a scholarship fund for undergraduate business students in need of financial aid, which included internships and mentoring opportunities for his business and entertainment conglomerate, as the local news station Fox 5 DC reported.

But that same the year, the music producer and businessman manhandled and kicked Ventura – his girlfriend at the time – in view of surveillance cameras at a hotel in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Ventura sued Combs for damages in November, accusing him rape and severe physical abuse during the course of a relationship that started in 2007 – when she was 19 and he was 37 – and lasted on and off until 2018.

Combs – whose other onstage monikers have included Puff Daddy and Love – paid undisclosed terms to settle Ventura’s lawsuit one day after she filed it. But the unusually rapid settlement did not head off at least six more lawsuits which have been filed and accuse him of sexual assaults as well as other instances of physical violence.

Meanwhile, in March, federal authorities raided Combs’ properties in Los Angeles and Miami as part of a sex-trafficking investigation.

Combs’ legal peril then intensified as it perhaps never had before in mid-May when CNN obtained and released the video of him battering Ventura – footage that he had paid $50,000 to buy from the hotel and presumably suppress, according to her settled lawsuit.

The video contradicted Combs’ denials of the allegations from Ventura and his other accusers, and it undermined his pledge to “fight for [his] name”. Within two days, Combs released a video apology, declaring that he was “disgusted” with himself and “truly sorry”, and had no excuses beyond pointing out that those were his “darkest times”.

That chain of events prompted Howard’s governing board to take steps disaffiliating the university from Combs when the panel’s members gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting on Friday.

In addition to rescinding his honorary degree, canceling the scholarship program named after him and giving back the donation that funded it, the university decided to end a separate 2023 pledge agreement with Combs under which no money had actually been received yet.

The governing board’s statement said it also “directed that his name be removed from all documents listing honorary degree recipients of Howard University”.

Howard’s actions on Friday came a little more than two weeks after Ventura issued her only statement on the video showing Combs abusing her. “My only ask is that everyone open your heart to believing victims the first time,” the singer’s statement said.


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