Freed-Hardeman: Bill Cosby will still headline benefit dinner

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HENDERSON, Tenn. — Freed-Hardeman University confirmed Wednesday Bill Cosby will still be the guest speaker at the school’s annual benefit dinner. Earlier this week the president was less decisive amid allegations of rape against Cosby. The school’s 50th annual benefit dinner is set for Dec. 5. Students received an email Wednesday informing them Cosby would still be attending. “I appreciate the school respecting him enough to keep this appointment,” FHU junior Ethan Schulte said. The university posted a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday saying in part, “We committed to a contract with Bill Cosby many months ago after soliciting input from alumni and friends.” Freed-Hardeman said they hope people will remember the dinner is about helping students. Some students were happy with the announcement. “I believe that there’s still good people out there. Even Bill Cosby, everyone, makes mistakes,” FHU sophomore Erika Bracht said. Others said they wish the school gave it more time. “Just so they could get a final decision and really think about what this might cause for the school like the name it might put out there for us,” FHU sophomore Haley Craig said. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, released a statement Wednesday urging university officials to revoke his invitation saying in part, “honoring him, regardless of which charity benefits, is inappropriate and hurtful. It rubs salt in the wounds of already wounded victims of sexual assault.” One senior said the money raised at this event has helped with the cost of school and that he hopes the focus will stay on that. “It’s more about the school and the dinner, not necessarily about the speaker, because if it was all about the speaker then everything would be embarrassing,” FHU senior Zach Dent said. The annual benefit dinner is expected to raise more than $1 million for the university.

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