If Institutions Stopped Taking Money from Questionable Donors, the Power of those Donors Would Diminish – Epstein

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After ‘deafening silence,’ Harvard opens review of Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to university

No university or charity or scientific society has been more closely associated in the public eye with Jeffrey Epstein than Harvard University, which received approximately $9 million from him over the years.

And no organization has seemingly been more adamant that it had nothing to explain, nothing to review, nothing to refund — even after Epstein later became the nation’s most notorious sexual predator.

That silence ended Thursday.

After refusing to comment for months on its past associations with Epstein and the money it collected as a result, Harvard released a letter from its president late Thursday stating that the school had opened a review into the matter.

“Epstein’s behavior, not just at Harvard, but elsewhere, raises significant questions about how institutions like ours review and vet donors,” wrote Lawrence S. Bacow, who took over as president in June.

Bacow said the school’s review of Epstein’s connections began two weeks ago, and had turned up funds Epstein gave that are still in use.

This week, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper published an editorial blasting the school for what it called “deafening silence” on the matter. In late November, the Miami Herald reported Epstein had been the beneficiary of a highly unusual non-prosecution agreement. Despite credible claims from dozens of underage girls that Epstein had sexually abused them, the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida discarded a 53-page draft indictment, allowing Epstein to avoid a federal trial and potentially life in prison.

The Herald’s series of stories on Epstein, Perversion of Justice, also explored how then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta — later President Donald Trump’s labor secretary — agreed to keep the non-prosecution agreement secret from Epstein’s victims. The articles brought renewed scrutiny to Epstein’s years of alleged sex trafficking.

Amid that fresh scrutiny, Epstein was arrested the first week of July and was awaiting trial in New York City when he was found dead in his cell Aug. 10. The death was termed a suicide.

The university “absolutely bears the responsibility to make a concrete statement denouncing its ties to Epstein,” the Crimson said in its editorial. It continued, “Not only did [this] silence further Epstein’s reputation while he was alive, it is also unfair to current Harvard students who must live with the knowledge that Epstein touted his affiliation with their school while University administrators stayed — then as now — silent.”

Harvard did not respond to a request from the Miami Herald for additional comment.

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