Special Reports

Sean "Diddy" Combs Stripped of Honorary Degrees Amid Assault Allegations; Howard University Sends Back Donation


Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C., has decided to revoke the honorary degree given to Sean "Diddy" Combs in 2014.

This decision comes after a video was released showing Combs physically attacking his ex-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, in 2016. The decision underscores Howard University's commitment to its core values and its stance against violence and abuse.

Howard University Takes Back Honorary Degree from Sean

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Derek E. Morton)

A Tarnished Legacy

Sean "Diddy" Combs, a renowned figure in the music industry and a former student of Howard University, has seen his legacy tarnished by recent revelations. The video, released by CNN, depicts a violent encounter between Combs and Ventura at a hotel. This incident, coupled with Ventura's allegations of rape and abuse over their relationship, has cast a dark shadow over Combs's public persona.

Combs attended Howard University from 1987 to 1989 before leaving to pursue his career in music. Despite his departure, he maintained a close relationship with the university, culminating in the awarding of an honorary degree in 2014. This degree recognized his contributions to the music industry and his philanthropic efforts. However, the recent allegations and the video have prompted the university to reassess its association with Combs.

READ MORE: P. Diddy 2016: Artist Donates $1M To Lift Howard University Student Debt 

University's Firm Stand

In a unanimous decision, the Howard University Board of Trustees accepted the return of Combs's honorary degree and stripped him of all related honors and privileges. The university's statement emphasized that Combs's behavior, as shown in the video, is fundamentally incompatible with Howard University's core values and beliefs. This decisive action reflects the institution's commitment to upholding its principles and maintaining the integrity of its community.

Furthermore, the university has taken additional steps to sever ties with Combs. The board instructed the administration to dissolve the scholarship program in his name, refund his $1 million donation, and terminate a 2016 gift agreement and a 2023 pledge from the Sean Combs Foundation. Notably, no payments had been made toward the 2023 pledge. This comprehensive response illustrates Howard University's zero-tolerance policy towards behavior that undermines its values.

Broader Implications and Response

The withdrawal of Combs's honorary degree and the subsequent actions by Howard University underscore the wider consequences for high-profile individuals being held responsible. This move by a prominent institution sends a strong message about the consequences of abusive behavior, regardless of the individual's status or contributions.

In addition to the video, four other lawsuits have been filed against Combs, accusing him of sexual assault and sex trafficking. These allegations have further intensified scrutiny on Combs, leading to raids by Homeland Security officials on his homes in March. The legal challenges and the university's response mark a significant moment in the ongoing discourse around accountability and justice.

Combs and Ventura resolved their lawsuit the day after it was submitted, but the effects of the accusations are still unfolding. The swift action by Howard University serves as a reminder that institutions can and will take necessary steps to align their honors and affiliations with their ethical standards.

Howard University's decision to revoke Sean "Diddy" Combs's honorary degree in light of the assault allegations demonstrates a firm commitment to its values. The university's actions reflect a broader societal shift towards holding individuals accountable for their actions, regardless of their prominence. This case underscores the importance of maintaining integrity and ethical standards within educational institutions and beyond. As the legal proceedings against Combs continue, the impact of Howard University's stance will likely resonate across the industry and serve as a precedent for other institutions grappling with similar issues.

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