Fordham University yanked Bill Cosby's honorary degree on Thursday -- the first time in its history it had made such a move.

"By his own admission, Mr. Cosby's sexual exploitation of women was premeditated and ongoing," Fordham University said in a statement. "Equally appalling is his longtime strategy of denigrating the reputations of women who accused him of such actions. That Mr. Cosby was willing to drug and rape women for his sexual gratification, and further damage those same women's reputations and careers to obscure his guilt, hurt not only his victims, but all women, and is beyond the pale."

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The university's board of trustees voted on a motion to take away the degree after the university's president Joseph McShane proposed it Thursday.

"As a Jesuit university, Fordham could no longer stand behind the degree it had bestowed upon Mr. Cosby, hence this unprecedented action," the university added.

Cosby was given an honorary doctorate in fine arts for the role he played in breaking racial barriers on American television and popular culture.

The univeristy added that there was no public awareness of the rape allegations against him.

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More than 50 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, but he has not faced any criminal charges.