These are puzzles surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, who so easily insinuated himself into prestigious universities and an orbit of prominent scientists years after his 2008 conviction. His billion-dollar fortune allowed him to lavishly fund their research activities and centers, among them MIT’s Media Lab.
But those receiving the money knew about his past. In fact, senior leaders at MIT approved Epstein’s donations and decided to keep them anonymous. MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, even signed a letter in 2012 thanking Epstein for a gift. Joi Ito has since resigned as the director of the MIT Media Lab and others have apologized, but only after the gifts became public.
How could these educational leaders have taken Epstein’s money, knowing it was so tainted that the gifts needed to remain anonymous?