Why Hasn’t Marist Taken Back Bill O’Reilly’s Honorary Degree?
Bill O’Reilly has been touted as one of the biggest successes to graduate from Marist College. But now, some are saying the college’s denouncement of the controversial talk show host is long overdue.
Yesterday it was announced that Bill O’Reilly would not be coming back to Fox News. After an investigation revealed that O’Reilly paid out over $13 million in settlements to five women who claim he sexually harassed them, sponsors pulled commercials from his show, forcing him off the air.
In press releases and fundraising letters to former students, Marist regularly describes O’Reilly as “one of the College’s most accomplished alumni.” In 2001 Marist even awarded Bill O’Reilly with an honorary degree. Through the years the talk show juggernaut maintained a strong relationship with Marist. He made regular visits to the campus, would attend football games and even stop by the locker room to talk with the players and help motivate them towards their next victory.
O’Reilly graduated Marist College in 1971 where he majored in History. According to the school, he was a columnist for the student newspaper, The Circle, and played on the college’s first championship football team.
Since outrage over O’Reilly’s alleged sexual harassment broke Marist has remained silent. On social media some students and alumni have been calling for the school to denounce the former student.
Has @Marist condemned Bill O'Reilly yet? If not, it's long overdue. I'm sure I'm not the only alum who feels this way (Class of '03).
— Jim McGrath (@JimMc_Grath) April 19, 2017
— Mark Bennett (@mcbennett6) April 5, 2017
Hey Marist – give O’Reilly’s gift back. This is disgusting.
— Rob Mcneil (@mcn) April 6, 2017
There are two scholarships at Marist that were funded by O’Reilly; The Winifred & William O’Reilly Scholarship, which was established to honor O’Reilly’s parents, and the Peter O’Keefe Endowed Scholarship, which O’Reilly donated $1 million to in 2015.
We want to know what you think. Should Marist take back O’Reilly’s honorary degree? Should they return his donations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.