Local, state and national ACLU ask President Saunders to consider prison-for-profit company’s history and the impact of stadium naming rights deal on university reputation.


CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 - 2737 media@aclufl.org

 BOCA RATON, FL – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) delivered a letter to Florida Atlantic University President Mary Jane Saunders describing the record of human rights abuses at a facility owned by the GEO Group and calling upon the university to reconsider its decision to publicly associate itself with the prisons-for-profit company.

The letter is signed by staff attorney Carl Takei of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, staff attorney Julie Ebenstein of the ACLU of Florida who joined FAU students at a rally on Monday February 25th, and President Marcia Hayden of the ACLU of Florida Palm Beach Chapter. It was delivered in conjunction with a meeting with Florida Atlantic University president Mary Jane Saunders organized by students and faculty opposed to the university’s agreement with GEO Group to sell the naming rights to the university’s football stadium.

From the letter:

“While there may be a short-term financial benefit for the University, an educational institution needs to carefully consider the long-term impact on its reputation, its students and its faculty. There are costs to its legacy that the University should calculate.”

The letter then goes on to “correct the record regarding GEO’s responsibility for gross human rights abuses at one of its prisons,” quoting the judge in a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center against a GEO facility who described the facility as “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions.”

The letter continues:

“We hope that this explanation helps set the record straight as you consider the long-term impact of the GEO Group brand name on FAU’s stadium, reputation, its students and its faculty.”

A copy of the full letter is available as a PDF here:

# # #