One of the most elite university of the United States was found entangled with a donor who was convicted sex offender. This week, Harvard University announced that their connections to financier Jeffrey Epstein were deeper than previously revealed.
The University reportedly acknowledged that it received nearly $9 million from Epstein and his foundations for a decade. The results of an investigation highlighted that Harvard accepted the donations from 1998 to 2007.
In a letter to the community, the Harvard President Larry Bacow stated that further investigations would be conducted to identify if the financier also assisted the college to gain donations from others.
“Epstein’s behavior, not just at Harvard, but elsewhere, raises significant questions about how institutions like ours review and vet donors,” he reportedly wrote. “Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes were repulsive and reprehensible. I profoundly regret Harvard’s past association with him.”
In 2008, Jeffrey Epstein was found guilty to two felony offenses, including procuring an under-18 person for prostitution. In July, he was arrested on new federal charges of sexually abusing dozens of girls in early 2000s. However, a month later in August, he was found dead in federal custody.
According to Bacow, after Epstein’s conviction on prostitution charges in 2008, the university had rejected the donation that was offered. Besides, Harvard accepted no gifts from him after 2007.
Jeffrey Epstein’s largest gift to the university reportedly was $6.5 million, which were granted in 2003 for its Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. The university president in the letter said that an additional $2.4 million were also acknowledged for the first time for other research.
The Harvard University will also redirect some of Epstein’s remaining contributions of $186,000 to non-profit organizations that assist victims of human trafficking and sexual assault, said Bacow
Other than Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was also involved in receiving donations from the sex offender. MIT Media Lab’s senior officials reportedly knew about Epstein’s role in fundraising after his conviction, but sought to ensure the gifts were anonymous. Despite him being listed as “disqualified” to donate, the school continued to accept gifts from him.
The report has brought two of country’s most renowned universities under questions. However, the Harvard President has vowed to “strive to be better”.