Despite the now countless allegations of sexual assault against big-wig movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Rutgers University will not return the $100,000 donation it received from the H. Weinstein Family Foundation last April. The school’s newspaper, The Daily Targum, reported that the donation is “part of a campaign to raise $3 million for the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies.” Ironically, the campaign benefits the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and “addresses the intersection of feminist studies and media culture.” Which is near the intersection of greed and hypocrisy, apparently.
The school, the eighth-oldest college in the United States, was in the midst of its “Turn the Campus Purple” week, an annual campaign to raise awareness for domestic violence, when it announced it was keeping the dirty money. This was shortly after Robert L. Barchi, the school’s president, stated that the institution remained committed to “protecting students from sexual violence, discrimination and harassment” following Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s reassessment of the Obama administration’s misguided Title IX guidelines.
DeVos wants to protect innocent students from being charged with crimes they didn’t commit, and being prevented from due process and the ability to present exculpatory evidence. Weinstein is a known, long-time, serial harasser and alleged serial rapist. Yet, Rutgers Director of University News and Media Relations Dory Devlin stated that, while the Weinstein allegations are “appalling and indefensible,” much work remains to be done to “advance women’s equality,” and noted that the Weinstein donation “will help those efforts.”
Colleges rant and rave- continuously- about sexism, misogyny, and the “rape culture.” They decry and deride capitalism, business, and the love of money, and consequently- constantly- extoll the virtues of volunteering. And Rutgers somehow arrives at this decision? Would Jewish charities accept donations from Hezbollah? Hitler Youth? “Well, we know the money is tragically ill-gotten and tainted, but, gosh darn it, we can put it to good use!”
The Scarlet Knights should be scarlet- in the face- after this debacle. Rutgers University was originally chartered as Queen’s College in November of 1766, prior to the American Revolution. The Queen might say of the school’s decision: “We are not amused.”
Neither am I.