Jeffrey Epstein has had a protracted checklist of pals from excessive locations, together with the likes of Stephen Hawking, Invoice Clinton and President Trump. However did Epstein leverage these connections? We clarify.
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Harvard talks a giant recreation on #MeToo points, however the college’s plan to maintain Jeffrey Epstein’s donations show cash is extra essential.
Now that monetary mogul Jeffrey Epstein is charged with sex trafficking girls — together with minors as younger as 14 years outdated — his relationship to Harvard University and Harvard’s hypocrisy and failure to reply adequately to the Epstein scandal deserves our consideration.
Epstein didn’t attend Harvard. Neither is he a school member. In truth, he doesn’t have a school diploma. However for many years he has been a substantial supporter of Harvard’s programming, school, and social establishments. Previous to his 2008 plea deal in Florida, Epstein made sizeable grants to the college, together with a $6.5 million donation in 2003 to the college’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and additional pledges of up to $30 million. Throughout this era, he supported several professors and he ceaselessly described himself as a “Harvard investor.”
After Epstein was charged with soliciting intercourse in 2006, Harvard’s interim president made clear — as reported in The Harvard Crimson — that the university would not return his gift. He added that solely in “excessive circumstances” would the college refuse contributions from questionable sources. However that prompts the query: Does Harvard not think about involvement in sex-trafficking ladies to be an “excessive case?”
This time, within the wake of this latest indictment, Harvard spokesman Jonathan Swain mentioned that the college “does not comment on individual gifts or their status.” Nor has the press office issued a press release.
Epstein’s philanthropy ran deep and included different universities like MIT, in addition to the Council on Foreign Relations. However Harvard’s silence is very troubling once we think about latest occasions on the college.
Harvard’s Harvey Weinstein crackdown
This spring, Harvard’s management got here down arduous — and publicly — on Ronald Sullivan, a legislation professor at Harvard Legislation College who joined the defense team for Harvey Weinstein (not, so far as I can inform, a Harvard donor), the previous movie producer accused of years of sexual abuse and assault against women. Sullivan has taught and practiced the authorized precept that, in America, everybody accused of a criminal offense — irrespective of how terrible — has the suitable to authorized illustration. And that features Weinstein.
Harvard’s large misstep: Harvard ditched US values of due process and diverse opinion in Harvey Weinstein case
College students claimed Sullivan’s work offering authorized counsel for Weinstein was “trauma inducing,” and the college caved. They didn’t renew Sullivan’s — or his spouse Stephanie Robinson’s — phrases as deans of Winthrop House (one of many 12 undergraduate residential houses at Harvard School). This was a large insult to the couple, however in the end, only a small headache for the college, with no monetary repercussions.
Harvard had a possibility to grandstand about ladies’s rights and shake their #MeToo feathers with little draw back. That appears to be the sample at Harvard. In relation to standing up for ladies’s rights, the college goes for the low-hanging fruit.
Within the post-#MeToo period, everybody needs to show their assist for ladies. Harvard conducted a Sexual Conduct Survey and departments have integrated #MeToo into their curriculum with references to the motion in course syllabi throughout disciplines from English to music to human evolutionary biology.
All of this will likely have a spot within the dialog about gender-based violence and remedy of girls — nevertheless it doesn’t ask a lot of the college. In relation to strolling the stroll by passing up cash, Harvard slinks away.
Silence shouldn’t be an choice
The cash that Epstein granted through the years, little question, has been spent. However Harvard has didn’t condemn the donor, talk about how they’ve modified their improvement practices or plan to vet future donors. It could be asking an excessive amount of for non-profits to scrutinize each donor who sends them cash; however when the reality comes out, silence shouldn’t be an choice.
Harvard’s endowment is more than $37 billion — that’s greater than the Gross Domestic Products of roughly half the world’s countries. The college might have simply changed the funding that Epstein supplied. What’s extra, they may give a few of that endowment to organizations which can be working to deliver consciousness to and cease intercourse trafficking.
Navigating the #MeToo period might be troublesome. Nevertheless it’s time company, political, and mental leaders begin talking up. Jeffrey Epstein hobnobbed with the wealthy and well-known and insulated himself with mental power-houses who may very well be helpful to him. Leaders like Harvard have a accountability to place an finish to it, and put their cash the place their mouth is.
Sabrina L. Schaeffer is a senior director on the White House Writers Group. She is on the board of RightNow, which helps promote Republican feminine management. Comply with her on Twitter @SL_Schaeffer.
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