Broward News

FAU Students Stage Protest Over GEO Naming Rights (UPDATED)

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Update: Saunders spoke briefly to the protesters in the lobby of her office. She says she plans to hold a Q&A session on Friday at noon on campus. 

The protesters are demanding that FAU give the $6 million it received back to GEO for the right to name the stadium for the next 12 years.

Meanwhile, ACLU of Florida attorney Julie Ebenstein joined in the protest, which was organized over the weekend, to fight back against the university's letting a company with a long history of human-rights abuses place its name on the football stadium.

"By allowing GEO Group to use the university as a prop in a campaign to whitewash their record, FAU is participating in an effort to desensitize Floridians to the horrors within the prisons-for-profit industry," Ebenstein said. "No glowing logo on the side of a stadium can stamp out the shameful record of neglect and mistreatment at GEO Group facilities. FAU's willingness to portray GEO as just another good corporate citizen may ultimately smooth the path for a further expansion of prisons-for-profit in Florida, when evidence shows that handing control of our prisons to private corporations harms our communities and neglects true criminal justice reform."

For its part, GEO Vice President for Corporate Affairs Pablo E. Paez responded to the protest and the allegations, calling the accusations lies and telling everyone how GEO donates a lot of money, so people should lay off.

Among the things Paez says:

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph