Some of the harshest critics called for Rashad to be removed from her post, saying her apparent indifference to serial sexual assault allegations made her unfit for a position of authority over students.

Jelani Cobb, a Columbia University journalism professor and frequent New Yorker magazine contributor, tweeted directly to Howard University, bluntly stating: “This person should not be a Dean.”

Rashad’s support for Cosby is not new. She had publicly defended him during his years-long legal battles. But the rise of the #Metoo movement and her new position at a prominent educational institution have contributed to the intense backlash as Cosby goes free.

Hours after her tweet Wednesday, Rashad sent out a clarification, stating her sympathy for all survivors of sexual assault but not mentioning Cosby or his case.

“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth,” she wrote. “Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”

In a statement, Howard acknowledged Rashad’s clarification and said her initial tweet “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault. Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and advocate their right to be heard.”


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