This week, MIT president L. Rafael Reif released a statement admitting he and the college knew all along that Jeffrey Epstein was funding the school’s Media Lab while minimizing how much he knew about Epstein’s crimes. Now students say he should probably resign.
In the years following Epstein’s conviction for soliciting a minor, directors of MIT’s Media Lab accepted millions from him and covered up the acceptance of his money by marking some donations as anonymous, which indicates that those running the lab knew exactly how bad the optics were on taking money from a convicted sex offender. A recent investigation confirmed that school officials also knew about the donations and cover-up as early as 2013. Investigators also found a letter signed by Reif personally thanking Epstein for his money, though Reif claimed to be shocked at a New Yorker article revealing the donations.
On Friday, at least 100 students attended an event called “They Knew: Speak-out against MIT-Epstein Scandal,” demanding the resignation of everyone who knew about the money, according to The Daily Beast:
“Accepting money linked to Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t just disgusting and immoral,” the group’s organizers wrote. “It violated MIT’s own donor policies. Any senior administrators who knew about these donations MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.”
Last week, Media Lab director Joi Ito resigned after admitting that he had also taken Epstein’s money to fund his personal investments. Both Ito and Reif insist that they simply thought Epstein was a convicted sex offender and didn’t know he was a sex trafficker. Meanwhile, over on the MIT email listserv, computer scientist Richard Stallman is asking if maybe Epstein’s victims aren’t to blame for all this.