Howard University Revokes Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Honorary Degree As Mogul’s Legal Troubles Grow

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Just days after Howard University announced it would revoke the honorary degree awarded to Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2014, additional details have emerged about the decision and the mounting legal issues facing the hip-hop mogul.

On Friday, June 7, Howard University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously “to accept the return by Mr. Sean Combs of the honorary degree,” as stated in their official release. The decision, linked to a series of abuse allegations against Combs, has led to the university stripping all associated honors and privileges.

Combs, 54, who attended Howard University from 1987 to 1989 before leaving without graduating, pledged $1 million in 2016 to establish the Sean Combs Scholarship Fund for financially needy students. The university has also terminated this pledge and a 2023 agreement with the Sean Combs Foundation.

The catalyst for this drastic move was a series of disturbing revelations. In November 2023, Casandra Ventura, known professionally as Cassie, filed a lawsuit accusing Combs of rape and physical abuse. The lawsuit was swiftly settled the next day. More recently, in May, CNN published surveillance footage from a Los Angeles hotel showing Combs attacking Ms. Ventura near the building’s elevators.

Combs posted an apology video on Instagram in response to the footage, stating, “I hit rock bottom — but I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video.”

Howard University, founded in 1867 to educate freed slaves, is a renowned historically Black university. Its notable alums include Vice President Kamala Harris and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Last year, the university awarded honorary degrees to Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Keith Christopher Rowley, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Mr. Combs’ behavior, as captured in a recently released video, 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,” board members said.

The revocation of Combs’ honorary degree comes amid a cascade of legal challenges for the founder of Bad Boy Records. In March, federal agents raided his homes in Los Angeles and the Miami area as part of a human trafficking investigation. Although no charges have been filed, the raids followed lawsuits by four women, including Ventura, accusing Combs of rape and sexual assault. A man has also accused him of unwanted sexual contact. Combs’ lawyers have been actively filing motions to dismiss these lawsuits.

Reportedly, prosecutors have convened a grand jury in New York and may seek sex-abuse and other related charges against the mogul.

Adding to his woes, Combs recently sold his majority stake in his media company, Revolt, as his legal issues intensified. Earlier, he sold his half of the liquor brand DeLeón for approximately $200 million after its parent company cited tarnished reputation concerns. Moreover, a New York charter school network that Combs had been instrumental in expanding has severed ties with him.

“The university is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence,” Howard University’s board wrote.

“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.”

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