Report: Harvard To Shut Down Facility Run By Professor Who Had Close Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein

(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A Harvard University professor who gave Jeffrey Epstein unrestricted access to the campus’ offices while knowing Epstein was a convicted sex offender will be barred from advising students or starting new research, numerous sources reported.

Martin Nowak, a math and biology professor, will reportedly have his research center shut down but will be allowed to continue teaching after an internal review released May 2020 showed Nowak had violated school security rules by giving Epstein wide access to campus. This information was released in a memo by Claudine Gay, dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, according to the Associated Press.

Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution on July 25, 2013 in Florida. (Photo by Florida Department of Law Enforcement via Getty Images)

“Following a thorough review by the FAS, in which Professor Nowak had the opportunity to participate, Professor Nowak’s actions were found to have violated several FAS and Harvard policies,” Gay wrote, as Harvard Magazine reported Thursday. Nowak reportedly violated policies involving professional conduct, campus access, and guidelines for responding to requests for endorsements.

Nowak was placed on leave after the review, which found that he had given Epstein an office in Nowak’s research center along with a building key card. 

Harvard’s review found that Epstein had visited Harvard more than 40 times after he was convicted of sex charges involving a minor in 2008, according to The New York Times. He had no official Harvard affiliation but had donated $6.5 million to the university’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which Nowak ran — the largest share of the $9.1 million Epstein donated in total between 1998 and 2008, according to Harvard Magazine.

Epstein attempted to use Harvard and Nowak’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics to burnish his image following his 2008 conviction of soliciting an underage prostitute. Novak was regularly mentioned in press releases issued by Epstein’s foundations. Nowak thanked Epstein for financial support in his 2011 book and several papers he published between 2009 and 2012, Buzzfeed reported.

Epstein’s publicist asked Nowak’s department in 2013 to post links to the websites of Epstein’s foundations that included “both flattering descriptions of Epstein as a science philanthropist and false claims about the level of support he provided to Harvard. In 2014, Epstein’s publicist asked Professor Nowak to feature Epstein in a full page on PED’s Harvard website. Professor Nowak approved each of these requests.”

Gay announced that the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics would be shut down, and that Nowak would remain on the faculty of the mathematics department, but would have two-year limits placed on his advising and research activities. Nowak will not be able to supervise new postdoctoral fellows or other researchers, and will be prohibited from advising undergraduate student research, Harvard Magazine reported.

Epstein was entrenched in Harvard. A Vanity Fair article from 2011 describes his “fan club” as consisting of Harvard’s president at the time and a former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Nowak is described as being “thrilled” to shake the hand of Prince Andrew at Epstein’s house. (RELATED: Harvard Is Still Paying Child Rapist Jeffrey Epstein’s Pal — Tried To Cut Pay For Its Low Wage Workers)

The report cleared Harvard’s top leaders of misconduct and found that they handled dealings with Epstein appropriately. 

Epstein committed suicide in August of 2019 in his Lower Manhattan jail cell, as previously reported. Epstein had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The financier was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted.