TBH, I've never heard of a blacklisted donor at MIT, so I'm a little surprised (pleasantly, as an alum).
It doesn't seem like any of the journalists even asked. That sounds like a very interesting story in and of itself.
I assume this is so they can hit you up for money right after you sell a bunch of stock? Clever.
In part, I wonder if it has any connection to Gregory Benford's description of Minsky's interaction with Epstein: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/339725/
Apparently "disqualified" status was a flag in their CRM essentially just meant "don't bother trying to cold call this person", usually set after three failed attempts to fund-raise from them. It in no way signaled any kind of prohibition on fundraising, and only available to development staff in any case. The whole tangent was essentially spurious and signified nothing except that his donations weren't coming in through fundraising cold calls.
But the real shocker is:
Media Lab's acceptance of donations from Epstein was known and approved by senior staff in MIT administration, the president even sent a thank you letter. The Media Lab had been directed by the administration to keep Epstein's donation's anonymous to avoid him using MIT for publicity or to enhance his own reputation.
So this whole idea that Ito was demonstrating mens rea by concealing his actions from the administration appears to be completely false. I find it shocking that MIT took a week to clarify this point.
I'd say I told you so-- but I didn't know, it just sounded a little suspect to me. Your alternative understanding also sounded reasonable enough...
Certainly possible, but it would be interesting to understand the timeline and reasons. The "keep this donation anonymous" would take on an entirely different meaning if it was prior to the prohibition, for example.
Accepting millions from him in 2002 would be unremarkable.