Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Fundraising in academia and the Epstein problem | STAT

From a timely academic funding reality check; also see On Joi and MIT | Lawrence Lessig and Thoughts on Larry Lessig’s thoughts on the MIT Media Lab / Epstein mess | Mary Lou Jepsen
"What might block an institution from accepting gifts from specific donors, to protect their reputation and a clash with institutional mission and values? The most obvious, as in the Epstein case, would be a donor accused or found guilty of a significant crime. A variant would be gifts from an autocratic country like Saudi Arabia, guilty of human rights violations or even murder.

Donors involved in non-criminal but embarrassing personal or professional events are also reputationally problematic. Another class of objections relates to politics, such as a donor whose political views and funding of causes that are not popular in the recipient community create angst about naming opportunities. David Koch, a prominent philanthropist who died last month, is a relevant case study. Though his politics were opposed by many, his substantial philanthropy was accepted by diverse New York arts institutions and several leading cancer centers, including the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, presumably following internal debate about balancing potential adverse effects on image and reputation against the benefits to mission."
Fundraising in academia and the Epstein problem | STAT

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