Bard President Given $150,000 from Jeffrey Epstein’s Basis

Lately, it has been reported that the President of Bard Faculty, Leon Botstein, acquired a donation of $150,000 from a basis created by the convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein. This information has stirred up controversy on campus and past, as many are questioning the ethics of accepting cash from a infamous determine like Epstein.

Bard Faculty, situated in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is a non-public liberal arts faculty that prides itself on its dedication to social justice and activism. The school has a fame for being a progressive establishment that produces considerate and engaged graduates. Nevertheless, information of Botstein’s acceptance of funds from Epstein’s basis has led some to wonder if the school’s values are actually aligned with their actions.

Jeffrey Epstein was a rich financier who grew to become notorious for his involvement in a large intercourse trafficking ring. Epstein’s crimes concerned exploiting younger women and girls, and he was finally convicted of prostitution and served time in jail. Epstein’s loss of life in 2019, whereas in police custody, raised much more questions in regards to the extent of his crimes and the individuals who might have enabled him.

Bard Faculty has been affected by Epstein’s legacy in different methods as nicely. Epstein had made donations to the school prior to now, and a constructing on campus had been named after him. Nevertheless, the school has since eliminated his identify from the constructing and vowed to donate any funds acquired from his basis to organizations that assist survivors of sexual abuse. Regardless of this pledge, the information of Botstein’s donation has nonetheless precipitated controversy and raised questions on whether or not the school is actually dedicated to its values of social justice and activism.

Leon Botstein, the president of Bard Faculty, personally acquired $150,000 for consulting charges in 2016 from a basis created by Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced billionaire accused of sexually abusing teenage ladies, The Wall Road Journal reported on Wednesday.

In a short interview with The New York Instances, Dr. Botstein confirmed the fee from the inspiration, Gratitude America, and stated that he donated all of it to the school as a part of a $1 million reward he gave that very same 12 months.

Dr. Botstein, 76, stated the remainder of his donation to the school got here from his private financial savings and earnings. He has been president of Bard Faculty since 1975 and earned about $400,000 in 2016.

“I didn’t profit personally in any respect,” he stated. The cash he acquired from Mr. Epstein’s basis, he stated, “made it attainable for me to offer as a lot as we had been in a position to give that 12 months” to the school.

He added: “I’m not a wealthy particular person.”

Dr. Botstein had beforehand stated that apart from an unsolicited $75,000 reward and 66 laptops, Mr. Epstein had not given any presents to Bard.

On Wednesday, Dr. Botstein stated that he didn’t disclose the cash from the inspiration throughout a earlier interview with The Instances earlier this month as a result of he was not conscious of it. He stated “the contract was signed by another person” so Mr. Epstein’s identify didn’t seem on his information. He stated he didn’t bear in mind the 2016 funds till he regarded into the matter after being requested by The Wall Road Journal.

Bard Faculty stated in an announcement that Dr. Botstein gave the $150,000 as a part of his “annual 2016 reward to Bard, together with private financial savings and the remainder of his non-Bard earnings from honoraria and out of doors conducting charges, a observe he has maintained for a few years.”

It’s unclear whether or not the board of Bard Faculty was conscious of this fee. Efforts to interview James Chambers, the board chairman, and different trustees weren’t profitable.

The fee is the newest revelation that provides a deeper look into how Mr. Epstein used his cash to purchase affect. Mr. Epstein gave prolifically to many charities and universities, together with Harvard and M.I.T.

A report in The Wall Road Journal final month confirmed that Mr. Epstein’s community was wider than beforehand thought, together with figures just like the linguist Noam Chomsky and Lawrence Summers, the previous Treasury secretary and president of Harvard. Dr. Summers sought cash for a poetry basis, led by his spouse, Elisa New, a Harvard literature professor.

Dr. Botstein repeatedly pursued Mr. Epstein over a interval of a number of years, making quite a few visits to Mr. Epstein’s Higher East Facet townhouse. Mr. Botstein stated these visits had been all about cash for Bard, a liberal arts faculty closely depending on rich donors.

“He loved humiliating and dangling prospects,” Dr. Botstein advised The Instances earlier this month. “He was sadistic. He completely strung me alongside.”

However in an announcement on Wednesday, the school stated that Mr. Epstein expressed curiosity in Bard’s music packages and launched Dr. Botstein, a conductor, to Gratitude America, which had fashioned an advisory council of specialists from totally different disciplines.

The inspiration’s president, Richard Kahn — a longtime adviser to Mr. Epstein and an executor of his property — invited Dr. Botstein to serve a one-year time period on the advisory board as a music adviser, in keeping with the assertion. Mr. Kahn didn’t reply to messages left with telephone numbers and an e-mail deal with related along with his identify.

The school’s assertion added, “Had the extent and horror of Epstein’s crimes been recognized, Bard wouldn’t have accepted his assist.”