Harvard to Give Jeffrey Epstein Donation to Sexual Assault Organizations

Friday - 01/05/2020 19:50
Harvard released a full review of Jeffrey Epstein's connections to the university.

Harvard University released its full review of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's connections to the school on Friday.

The report confirmed that Harvard "received a total of $9.1 million in gifts from Epstein between 1998 and 2008 to support a variety of research and faculty activities," Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow said.

Epstein was found dead in an apparent suicide last year in his New York jail cell while awaiting trail on sex-trafficking charges.

A separate review found that of the gifts received from Epstein, about $200,937 remained unspent. Bacow announced that money will be divided equally between My Life My Choice and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS)--organizations that "support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault."

The review found that no more donations from Epstein were accepted by the university, following his conviction in 2008.

"In 2008, shortly after taking office as President, Drew G. Faust was asked to consider a new gift from Epstein," the report said. "Though she had not heard of him at the time, after she was briefed on the nature of the allegations against him, she determined that Harvard should no longer accept gifts from him."

Valued at $40.9 billion by the Harvard Management Company, Harvard has the largest endowment of any university in the U.S.

The report was overseen by Vice President and General Counsel Diane E. Lopez after Bacow requested a full review in September.

The investigation found that following his $6.5 million gift to the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (PED) in 2003, Epstein maintained a relationship with Martin Nowak, director of PED, for the next 15 years. Epstein visited the offices of PED "more than 40 times between 2010 and 2018."

Although the report "did not find evidence that Epstein engaged with undergraduate students during these visits," he had access to the program's offices and was praised on the PED website, descriptions that were approved by Nowak.

Nowak has effectively been placed on paid administrative leave by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 
Harvard March 2020
Harvard University campus shown on March 23, 2020.MADDIE MEYER/GETTY
 

Harvard will adopt new donation guidelines as a result of the findings. The report recommended greater transparency from faculty who receive support from individual donors. It also proposed that evaluation of gifts and donors should be expanded for review by faculty members, department chairs, deans and developmental staff.

"The report issued today describes principled decision-making but also reveals institutional and individual shortcomings that must be addressed," Bacow said, "not only for the sake of the University but also in recognition of the courageous individuals who sought to bring Epstein to justice."

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