MIT sets review of donations, apologizes for Jeffrey Epstein ties

25 Août, 2019, 22:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Media Lab's Center for Civic Media, announced last week that he was resigning because he was "ashamed" over the research center's link to Epstein.

In a letter, MIT President President Rafael Reif said the college had received $800,000 in donations from foundations controlled by Epstein over over two decades. Over the course of 20 years, he writes, Epstein gave $800,000 to the MIT Media Lab and to MIT mechanical engineering professor Seth Lloyd.

Each Joi Ito, the director of the Media Lab - who can also be a New York Instances board member - and Lloyd have publicly apologized for accepting cash from the convicted pedophile.

Reif did not directly address calls for Ito's ouster.

Ito's apology came on August 15.

Though Epstein's relationship with the lab predated Ito's appointment, Ito in his post acknowledged that the two visited each other and that he accepted Epstein as a financial backer in his private investments as well.

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Ito said he met the businessman in 2013, five years after Epstein's first conviction in Florida for paying young girls for sexual massages.

Prof. Lloyd's apology was issued on the same day as Reif's statement. Lloyd published an apology Thursday, and disclosed that he visited Epstein during Epstein's prison term in Florida. "But upon reflection, I made a decision to visit Mr. Epstein during his prison term in Florida".

'I believed, at the time, that I was doing a good deed. "Mr. Epstein expressed remorse for his actions and assured me that he would not re-offend". "It would have been straightforward to find the true scope of the allegations against Mr. Epstein - thanks to the work of police investigators, journalists, and the victims' attorneys they were a matter of public record - but I failed to search for them", Lloyd writes.

"These were professional as well as moral failings", he said. Lloyd asked for the forgiveness of Epstein's victims, said he has "committed financial resources to aid you and other survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking" and promised to "work assiduously to help make your voices heard". "And to any MIT faculty member who has questions or uncertainties about a funder: Please know that MIT has staff who can help you in gathering the facts and coming to an informed judgment".

"To Jeffrey Epstein's victims, on behalf of the MIT administration, I offer a profound and humble apology", Reif said.

"With hindsight, we recognize with shame and distress that we allowed MIT to contribute to the elevation of his reputation, which in turn served to distract from his horrifying acts", Reif said. "No apology can undo that", Reif wrote.


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