Bill Cosby’s release from prison and the public support from Phylicia Rashad is continuing to make headlines.
Rashad weighed in on Cosby’s release via Twitter, writing “Finally!!!! a terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected.”
Rashad followed up with a tweet offering empathy to those who are victims of sexual assault. “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.”
Many were concerned with Rashad’s support of Cosby and reached out to Rashad’s alma mater, Howard University, stating that Rashad’s position would impede students from coming forth.
“We’re really concerned particularly for Black survivors,” said Indira Henard, the Executive Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center, to FOX 5 DC. “Howard University is an HBCU and so we know the intersectionality of sexual violence and race, and so, this adds to that.”
Rashad is starting her role as the new dean of the University’s Fine Arts College. Due to the attention received, Howard University issued a statement.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our first 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 tweet reads.
“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. 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.”