On Friday, two universities announced that in light of the allegations against Charlie Rose, they would be taking back the journalism awards they had previously given to the longtime PBS host.
In an official statement, Christopher Callahan, the dean of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which awarded Rose the “Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism” in 2015, wrote:
This unprecedented action is taken with the utmost seriousness and deliberation. We are not in the business of trying to rewrite history. The Cronkite Award is bestowed each year to celebrate a great journalist, our school, our students, our alumni and our profession. It is a lifetime achievement award. It does not come with term limits. It is given in perpetuity. The idea of “taking back” a Cronkite Award is so foreign that the possibility was never even considered when the award was first created by Walter, the school and the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees more than 30 years ago.
We give the award each year based on the knowledge we have of a recipient at that time. When new information about a recipient surfaces, the question we ask is not whether the award would be given again with a new set of facts, but whether the transgressions are so egregious that they demand nothing less than a reversal of history.
I believe Mr. Rose’s actions of sexual misconduct reported by The Washington Post and other media outlets, which are largely unrefuted, rise to that level. The damage caused by Mr. Rose’s actions extends far beyond the news organizations for which he worked. The actions victimized young women much like those who make up the overwhelming majority of Cronkite students – young women who deserve to enter workplaces that reward them for their hard work, intelligence and creativity and where they do not have to fear for their safety or dignity. In rescinding this award, we hope to send an unequivocal message that what Mr. Rose did is unacceptable, and that such behavior – far too common in not just media companies but many organizations – must stop.
While Callahan did acknowledge that the rescinding of Rose’s 2015 award is merely “symbolic,” he insisted that it’s an important move nonetheless, and that it was made with “input from scores of Cronkite School stakeholders,” including students and faculty.
University of Kansas’ William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which gave their “William Allen Foundation National Citation Award” to Rose in 2017, also released a statement, which reads in part:
The William Allen White Foundation Board of Trustees has voted to rescind the National Citation award presented to journalist Charlie Rose.
Since 1950, the William Allen Foundation National Citation Award has honored American journalists who exemplify William Allen White’s ideals in service to their profession and community. In 2017, the foundation presented the award to journalist Charlie Rose. After recent reports detailed sexual harassment and a pattern of unprofessional behavior by Rose during his career, the William Allen White Foundation decided that Rose does not exemplify the ideals of this award.
On Wednesday, Rose was accused of sexual harassment and assault by eight different women in a bombshell report from The Washington Post.