Harvard closes evolution center after finding connections to Jeffrey Epstein

Investigation finds center’s director, Martin Nowak, devoted a page to the disgraced wealthy financier on the center’s website

Harvard University’s program for evolutionary dynamics is to close after an inquiry into ties between its director, Martin Nowak, and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

According to the university, the mathematics and biology professor violated several university policies through his contacts with Epstein, including giving the disgraced wealthy financier an office on campus which he visited more than 40 times between 2010 and 2018.

Epstein, 66, was charged with sex trafficking in 2019, shortly before he was found dead in his cell in the Metropolitan correctional center in New York. Epstein had faced an indictment accusing him of running a sex-trafficking ring of underage girls, some as young as 14.

Nowak will be barred from starting new research or advising students for at least two years, according to the university. The sanctions come almost a year after Novak was suspended following a university review that found he had extensive, previously unreported contact with Epstein.

The review of Nowak’s connections to Epstein found that the professor had facilitated Epstein’s efforts to use ties to the prestigious university Harvard as a tool to rehabilitate his image.

The review also found that Nowak devoted a page to Epstein on the center’s website that included links to the financier’s websites. The university received $9.1m in gifts from Epstein, including a donation of $6.5m to the evolutionary dynamics faculty in 2006.

In an email on Thursday, Harvard’s faculty of arts and sciences dean Claudine Gay wrote that Nowak’s behavior toward Epstein was inappropriate.

“In instances where his actions did not constitute policy violations per se, those actions still demonstrated a pattern of blameworthy negligence and unprofessional behavior in his responsibilities,” Gay wrote.

The program for evolutionary dynamics, Gay said, would be shut down “as soon as it is feasible”.

Harvard had launched an investigation into the university’s ties to Epstein in the month’s after his suicide. Lawrence Bacow, Harvard’s president, said at the time he “profoundly regrets Harvard’s past association with him”.

“Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes were repulsive and reprehensible,” he said then. “Conduct such as his has no place in our society.”

Contributor

Edward Helmore

The GuardianTramp

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