Last week, the administration of Florida Atlantic University raised eyebrows when officials announced that they had sold the naming rights to the school’s new football stadium to the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest private prison company.
And students aren’t taking the deal lying down. On Monday afternoon, dozens of activists staged a sit-in inside university President Mary Jo Saunders’ office demanding FAU revoke their agreement with GEO Group. After two hours, Saunders agreed to schedule a public meeting with the university community, according to the Palm Beach Post:
After some negotiations, Saunders emerged from her office for a brief meeting with the protesters, who have accused the GEO Group of human rights violations at its facilities, some of which are in Florida.
“I don’t know everything about this company,” Saunders conceded, but she also indicated that she thought some of the accusations against the firm were untrue.
Earlier about 100 persons attended a demonstration at a different spot on campus against the university’s decision accept GEO Group’s money.
Reaction to the news last week was swift and overwhelmingly critical. GEO Group is one of the nation’s largest private prison companies, a leader of an industry rife with corruption and greed. Like other private prison companies, GEO Group profits handsomely by detaining people in often unsafe, unhealthy facilities at an enormous expense to taxpayers.
The GEO Group’s CEO George Zoley is an FAU alum, and the company is based in Boca Raton, Florida, one mile away from the FAU campus.
The photograph is from FAU student magazine the University Press, who were tweeting the protests throughout the day on Monday.