Harvard keeps Jeffrey Epstein donation but terminates dean repping Harvey Weinstein
Harvard University refused to return a $6.5 million donation from alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, but previously dismissed a faculty dean over agreeing to represent Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault, in court.
Court documents revealed that Epstein created “a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit” between the years of 2002 and 2005, according to The New York Times.
The Harvard Crimson, the university’s newspaper, stated that Harvard received a $6.5 million donation from the billionaire in 2003, but refused to return the money in 2006, after suspicion raised over his sexual exploitation of minors in a probable cause affidavit, reported Newsweek. Epstein considered donating $30 million, but it is unclear if all of this money was ever given.
The Crimson claimed in 2018 that Epstein’s money funded the building of a campus building. He also made friendly relationships with university faculty members, including a former Harvard president and Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School who has also been accused of having a sexual encounter with a minor. Dershowitz denies those allegations.
"Mr. Epstein's gift is funding important research using mathematics to study areas such as evolutionary theory, viruses, and cancers," a Harvard spokesman told the Crimson in 2006. "The University is not considering returning this gift."
A Harvard spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek Wednesday that the donation was already spent, but would not comment on the other $30 million that Epstein was considering to give.
As Campus Reform reported, Harvard previously disassociated itself from an alleged sexual predator when the university terminated law professor Ronald Sullivan and his wife Stephanie Robinson from their faculty dean positions after Sullivan agreed to represent Harvey Weinstein in his criminal trial.
“It was my willingness to represent Mr. Weinstein in the first place that prompted a furor, and ultimately Harvard’s decision to dismiss us as faculty deans,” Sullivan said in a video statement. “We know this to be true, as does the Harvard community, including its most senior leaders.”
Sullivan emphasized that he was purely doing his duty as a lawyer to uphold the American value of due process and that he did not support anything Weinstein may have done.
Campus Reform reached out to Harvard to ask what led the institution to disassociate itself from Weinstein but not Epstein but did not receive comment in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai