“Harvard will adopt new donation guidelines as a result of its review of donations from the late billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey E. Epstein. . . .The . . . University received a total of $9.1 million in gifts from Epstein between 1998 and 2008 to support a variety of research and faculty activities, and . . . no gifts were received from Epstein following his conviction in 2008. . . . Epstein — who died in prison in August awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges — boasted deep, longstanding ties to the University and the [Faculty of Arts and Sciences]. The Miami Herald reported in November 2018 that Epstein operated a sex ring out of his Palm Beach, Fla. home and identified around 80 women who said Epstein abused them before 2006 . . . . In a separate review, Harvard found that $200,937 of gifts the University received from Epstein remained unspent. [Harvard’s president] announced that those funds would be divided equally between My Life My Choice, in Boston, and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, in New York. Both organizations are non-profits supporting victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.”
As a Harvard Law School graduate, I received a copy of the Harvard president’s letter describing in detail the events and decisions made with respect to Epstein’s donations. I concurred with some of Harvard’s decisions and not with others, and I wrote to the president as follows:
“The report on the Epstein case and Harvard was disappointing in many different ways. First of all, if Harvard couldn’t spend the unspent Epstein donations, why shouldn’t it “unspend” the money already spent? I certainly agree that Harvard should give away the unspent $200,000. And I understand that the spent portion was spent before Harvard realized the money came from a bad source. But it was just as bad when spent. Harvard should think seriously about donating back the spent money, and give it to victimized children. And tell the public you’re doing it. You deserve commendation.
“The “Visiting Fellow” title given Epstein [many years before his conviction] was very uncommendable. He was given that title without deserving it, and only because he gave money to Harvard. Harvard should be honest about such things. People who donate should be thanked for doing so. “Visiting Fellows” should be people have added wisdom to the staff, not people who give money.
“Once Epstein was convicted, Harvard should have cut him off from further communication with the [Faculty of Arts and Sciences]. He didn’t deserve more.”
An indirect Epstein issue arose for Harvard recently when it received $8.6 million in stimulus money from the Trump administration as part of federal coronavirus relief. Several days later Donald Trump excoriated the wealthy Ivy League school over taxpayer money it stood to receive.
Harvard “followed similar actions at Stanford and Princeton universities, which said they, too, will reject millions of dollars in federal funding amid growing scrutiny of wealthy colleges.”
President Trump is well known as one of Jeffrey Epstein’s past buddies. So insofar as the $8.6 million in stimulus money was concerned, I thought Harvard should also donate that to Epstein’s victims, especially because of Trump’s relationship to him. “Please don’t forget to mention that,” I suggested to the Harvard president.