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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Honorary Degree From Howard University Rescinded by School’s Trustees

The school will also return Combs' $1 million contribution and terminate a $1 million pledge agreement from the Sean Combs Foundation.

Sean "Diddy" Combs attends Day 1 of 2023 Invest Fest at Georgia World Congress Center on Aug. 26, 2023 in Atlanta.

Sean "Diddy" Combs attends Day 1 of 2023 Invest Fest at Georgia World Congress Center on Aug. 26, 2023 in Atlanta.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Howard University’s board of trustees voted unanimously on Friday to revoke the honorary degree awarded to Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2014, saying he is “no longer worthy to hold the institution’s highest honor.”

Howard, a private, historically Black research university in Washington, D.C., will also return Combs’ $1 million contribution and terminate a $1 million pledge agreement from the Sean Combs Foundation, the board said in a statement.


“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,” the board said in its statement. “The University is unwavering in its opposition to all acts of interpersonal violence.”

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The rebuke is especially significant given Combs’ longtime ties to the university. Combs was a business major at Howard, but left after his second year. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate in humanities from Howard and delivered the commencement address.

Last month, CNN first aired a 2016 surveillance video showing Combs physically assaulting his former girlfriend, singer Casandra “Cassie” Ventura, in a hallway at the now-closed InterContinental Hotel in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the video, dated March 5, 2016, Combs appears to shove Ventura to the ground, kick her twice, drag her down a hallway and throw glass vases at her.

The video of the attack was graphic and disturbing – one of the few times the public has actually seen, and not just read or heard about, an incident of domestic abuse.

Combs released a video posted on Instagram days after the video’s release, saying, “My behavior on that video is inexcusable. I take full responsibility for my actions in that video.”

But no apology can make people un-see that video. “We find the images extremely disturbing and difficult to watch,” the office of L.A. District Attorney George Gascón wrote in a statement on Instagram on May 17. Butthe D.A. added that “if the conduct depicted occurred in 2016, unfortunately, we would be unable to charge.”

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Established in 1867, Howard offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in more than 120 programs. Notable Howard alumni from the arts include actors Chadwick Boseman, Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Anderson, Roxie Roker and Taraji P. Henson; comedian and TV personality Nick Cannon; novelist Toni Morrison; novelist and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar; and writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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