Howard University has disavowed the support their new dean of Fine Arts, Phylicia Rashad, showed for her longtime friend Bill Cosby.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first priority,” read a statement posted on Howard University’s verified social media accounts. “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.”
On Wednesday Rashad, who in May was appointed dean of Howard’s recently reestablished College of Fine Arts, tweeted in celebration of Cosby’s sentence being overturned.
“FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she wrote, along with a photo of her former TV husband.
Cosby was released from a Pennsylvania prison after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacated his 2018 conviction on sexual assault charges and sentence.
He had been sentenced to 10 years in a state prison after being found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.
Dozens of women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, including harassment, drugging and rape, dating back decades. Cosby has consistently disputed the allegations.
There was swift criticism following Rashad’s initial tweet.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” Rashad wrote in a subsequent tweet.
“My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” she wrote in the subsequent tweet.”Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
In its statement, Howard wrote “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Rashad has twice played Cosby’s wife on television: from 1984–92 on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show” and on the CBS sitcom “Cosby” from 1996-2000. She is an alumna is Howard University.
CNN has reached out to reps for Rashad for comment.