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MIT says Jeffrey Epstein gave $800,000, issues statement on MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, Seth Lloyd

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The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif. To the members of the MIT community, I expect you know that the late Jeffrey Epstein cultivated relationships with and supplied funding to leading researchers at several institutions, including MIT. I write to share some background on the gifts MIT received, to outline our next steps as an institution and to offer an apology. Here are the core facts, as best as we can determine: Over the course of 20 years, MIT received approximately $800,000 via foundations controlled by Jeffrey Epstein. All of those gifts went either to the MIT Media Lab or to Professor Seth Lloyd. Both Seth and Media Lab Director Joi Ito have made public statements apologizing to Jeffrey Epstein's victims and others for judgments made over a series of years. You may read their statements here and here. I appreciate their efforts to take individual responsibility for their past decisions. However, I believe the situation also requires a broader and deeper institutional response. MIT offers faculty great freedom in conducting and building support for their research; that freedom is and always will be a precious value of our community. Yet it is important to understand that faculty are not “on their own”; their decisions about gifts are always subject to longstanding Institute processes and principles. To my great regret, despite following the processes that have served MIT well for many years, in this instance we made a mistake of judgment. In response, I have asked Provost Marty Schmidt to convene a group to examine the facts around the Epstein donations and identify any lessons for the future, to review our current processes and to advise me on appropriate ways we might improve them. Read the rest

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