Prison company withdraws $6M donation for FAU stadium naming rights
Florida Atlantic University stadium now without sponsor
After months of student protests, the GEO Group, which runs prisons, has agreed to withdraw a $6 million donation to Florida Atlantic University for the naming rights of its football stadium.
"At first, we thought it was another part of the April Fools', but then we saw it was real, so we were extremely happy," said senior Gonzalo Vizcardo.
The news came after months of real protests from the same students who did not want to be linked with a company that runs prisons and is accused of human rights violations.
"They made the announcement on February 19th, a Tuesday, and on February 25, the following Monday, we had our first sit in," said Vizcardo. "Their facilities throughout the country and other countries as well have been cited for huge abuses of inmates... A company should not be profiting off the suffering of others."
"It didn't look good for the University in general. We don't want to be associated with a company that violates human rights," said senior Diogo Braga.
George Zoley, GEO group chairman and chief executive officer, released a statement saying: "What was originally intended as a gesture of GEO's goodwill to financially assist the University's athletic scholarship program has surprisingly evolved into an ongoing distraction to both our organizations."
"This is a victory for FAU. This is a victory for students, faculty, staff and alumni, everybody at FAU," said Vizcardo. "The student power and the faculty power is stronger than a $2 billion company and a university president."