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February 22, 2018

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UPenn scrubs Wynn name, rescinds his and Cosby’s degrees

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Charles Krupa / AP

Casino mogul Steve Wynn during a news conference in Medford, Mass., Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

Updated Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 | 3:38 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania announced Thursday that it will remove casino mogul Steve Wynn's name from a campus plaza and revoke honorary degrees given to him and comedian Bill Cosby in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against both men.

The Ivy League school's president, Amy Gutmann, and chair of its board of trustees, David Cohen, said in a joint statement that the decision was made after deliberations among deans, faculty, alumni and trustees.

"It is incumbent on all of us to address these issues wherever and whenever we find that they affect our extended community," they said. Wynn's name also will be removed from a scholarship fund.

The university said it has been a century since it took away an honorary degree, but "credible" allegations against the men warranted the action.

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that a number of women said they were harassed or assaulted by Wynn, with one case leading to a $7.5 million settlement.

Wynn has strongly denied the allegations, attributing them to a campaign led by his ex-wife. He resigned Saturday as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver said Wynn had no comment.

Following the Wall Street Journal report, the University of Iowa also said it would remove Wynn's name from a research institute.

Cosby, who has had honorary degrees stripped by multiple universities, is scheduled to be retried in April on charges that he drugged and molested a woman in 2004 at his home near Philadelphia. His previous trial ended with a hung jury. His spokesman did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

In 2015, a university spokesman told the campus newspaper that while the school found allegations against Cosby "deeply troubling," it was not Penn's practice to rescind honorary degrees.

In its statement Thursday, the university said the decision to strip Wynn of his honorary degree "made it also clear that the multiple and highly credible charges involving Bill Cosby warranted the same action."