Harvard Refuses to Return Massive Donation by Jeffrey Epstein

This July 27, 2006, file photo, provided by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office shows Jeffrey Epstein. Jury selection is getting started in Florida in a long-running lawsuit involving Epstein, a wealthy, well-connected financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls. An attorney who represented some victims claims financier Epstein …
Palm Beach Sheriff's Office via AP

Harvard University has continuously refused to return a $6.5 million donation made by billionaire and sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein over the past two decades.

According to various reports, Harvard University has no qualms about holding onto a $6.5 million donation from billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who now faces federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors. Epstein, who long been dogged by allegations of child sex abuse, initially intended to increase his gift to Harvard University to as much as $30 million.

When Epstein was charged with sex crimes in 2006, a Harvard spokesperson emphatically announced that the university would not return Epstein’s donation. “Mr. Epstein’s gift is funding important research using mathematics to study areas such as evolutionary theory, viruses, and cancers,” a Harvard spokesman said in 2006. “The University is not considering returning this gift.”

This week, Campus Reform juxtaposed the university’s decision to hold onto the funding against their decision to terminate Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr, who ignited a firestorm after he signed on to defend disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

When the debate over whether or not to keep the gift first arose on Harvard’s campus, former Harvard University President Derek C. Bok defended the university’s decision to hold onto Epstein’s gift, citing a letter he wrote to the Harvard community in 1979 about accepting donations from controversial figures. “I would be inclined to accept such donations on the ground that the tangible benefits of using the money…should overcome the more abstract, symbolic considerations that might lead us to turn down such benefactions,” Bok wrote.

“I am not yet persuaded that Harvard should have an obligation to investigate each donor and impose detailed moral standards,” Bok added.

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