MIT Media Lab’s tarnished coffers

MIT Media Lab.

MIT president is keeping public ill-informed amid Epstein scandal

MIT president L. Rafael Reif has made public statements about Jeffrey Epstein following reports in the Globe and The New Yorker exposing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for accepting money affiliated with Epstein. Both statements lacked transparency, leaving faculty, students, and the public ill-informed.

The first statement, dated Aug. 23, failed to note how easily Epstein circumvented the blacklist and that Epstein directed friends to donate on his behalf. This information was known among multiple people at the Media Lab, as described in The New Yorker, which MIT could have uncovered and shared. In Reif’s second statement, dated Sept. 7, Reif called for an external review but made no mention of whether the wider community will have direct access to its findings.


In MIT’s mission statement, the school affirms its commitment to disseminating knowledge on the world’s greatest challenges. Is not human trafficking one of those challenges?

Mark Goldman


The writer is a graduate student in chemical engineering at MIT.

Epstein’s brand of justice mustn’t be overlooked

Re “MIT official out on new Epstein allegations” (Page A1, Sept. 8): For Jeffrey Epstein, it seems the appellation “Voldemort” means not only “he who must not be named,” as some MIT Media Lab staff members referred to him, but also he who must not be reported on accurately. Epstein had not, as stated in your article, “spent a year in jail.” He served a modified form of house arrest or work release. Why does this matter? Spending a year in jail has a very specific meaning to most people. Stating the actual conditions of his 2008 conviction would have highlighted the sweetheart deal arranged for Epstein by Alexander Acosta and the variant forms of “justice” available to the wealthy and well-connected.

Andy Mermell



This is not a country that cares about women and girls

MIT’s embrace of Jeffrey Epstein is, unfortunately for women, a reflection of attitudes in our country as a whole.

A country that elects a man who has insulted, degraded, demeaned, and assaulted women, prioritizing other issues above that, is not a country that cares about women and girls.

MIT’s decision to secretly accept money from a known abuser of teenage girls is yet another demonstration of this sad fact.

Kristin Semmelmeyer