On Friday, Harvard’s Office of the President released a statement confirming that it had received $9.1 million in donations from the convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, per a tweet from Lydia Moynihan of Fox Business Network. The statement concludes that no gifts were received from Epstein following his conviction in 2008.
Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow also revealed that the school’s top leadership would be implementing new donation guidelines, per his recommendations. The statement is the conclusion of a full review of Jeffrey Epstein’s connections to the university. The review was overseen by Harvard’s vice president and general counsel, Diane Lopez.
A key finding from the review includes that after Epstein’s 2008 arrest, then-President Drew Faust was asked to consider a new gift from Epstein. After she was briefed on the nature of the allegations against him, the statement says “she determined that Harvard should no longer accept gifts from him.”
The review also showed that in 2013, a number of faculty members requested that the Ivy League school should “reconsider accepting donations from Epstein.”
“That request was put before then-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael D. Smith, who, after being briefed about Epstein, reached the same conclusion as President Faust, and denied the request to entertain the possibility of gifts from Epstein.” wrote Lopez.
Lopez continued, stating that in his interview, Dean Smith explained to her that he came to his decision because if he had chosen otherwise — it would have been “inconsistent with Harvard’s commitment to address sexual assault and harassment,” to accept gifts from the convicted felon.
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, University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced in an email to affiliates Friday afternoon. https://t.co/nYwQmeiKIg— The Harvard Crimson (@thecrimson) May 1, 2020
Epstein was first convicted in 2008 in a Florida state court for procuring an underage girl for prostitution. He served almost 13 months before being released. Epstein was last arrested on July 6, 2019 on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida. He died by suicide in his jail cell in August 2019, although the ruling ofsuicide has been widely challenged.
Bacow announced in the same statement that a separate review found that $200,937 of the gifts received from Epstein remained unspent. He went on to say that Harvard would be donating the remaining funds to two organizations that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault. The first is My Life My Choice, an organization based in Boston, and the second is Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS).
“These organizations support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault, and Harvard is proud to support their important and valuable work.” said the university president.