FAU Is a $6 Million Whore (UPDATED)

Categories: Broward News
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Heads should be rolling in the offices of FAU's Board of Trustees, as the affront to decency of the school's climbing into bed with notorious private prison octopus GEO Group turns into a well-deserved public relations disaster.

The Board doesn't surrender the pink on the cheap, at least. They scored six million smackers putting out for Jails"R"Us, selling them naming rights to the school's football field.

When it comes to selling your soul, the university's taught some of its children well. As the debacle unfolded, an attempted coverup of GEO's history of infamy was orchestrated by one Abraham Cohen (class of '09). Cohen doubtless caught the eye of GEO CEO George Zoley (class of '72) when Cohen, as student body president, was an ex officio member of the board, where Zoley has sat since 2003, twice as chair. Cohen now serves as GEO's minister of propaganda.


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Nothing better illustrates the perpetrators' awareness of how badly they screwed up than their desperate, foolish attempt to delete Wikipedia's description of GEO's trail of tears. (Even more encyclopedic surveys are here and here.) Some of the company's abuses have occurred in our own back yard, but its greasy fingers are all over Florida, investing heavily in politicians like Marco Rubio.

GEO's dunderheaded effort to whitewash the Web also illustrates how glaringly inappropriate it is to link the company to an institution of higher learning. FAU purports to be in the business of imparting knowledge; their bedmates at GEO work to toss history down the memory hole.

Those who defend the board and the company will trot out the usual market fundamentalist arguments. They'll argue that GEO lawfully provides a benefit to consumers and that any excesses on its part can be addressed through capitalism's self-correcting mechanism--consumers can refuse to patronize GEO and take their dollars to its competitors, private or public.

That doesn't work when it comes to private prisons. Their consumers include not only the public--who purchase the incarceration of lawbreakers--but the prisoners too, who, hidden from view, suffer the consequences of GEO's methods. "Do the crime, do the time" doesn't extend to prisoner abuse.

FAU students have spoken out on this travesty, joining in campaigns to rid their school of the GEO stigma. Find two such efforts here and here.

FAU faculty? So far, it seems, like the creature that serves as the FAU athletes' mascot, they've buried their heads in the sand. The business school...Okay, we don't expect much of them. But the humanities and social sciences...They should know better. A failure to condemn the trustees' fellating of GEO would mark them forever as moral cretins. Silence is consent.

[We apologize in advance to anyone who takes offense at our use of "whore" as a pejorative. All respect to sex workers, who provide some pleasure through their services, and without the hypocrisy of deals like that of FAU and GEO. If anyone's exploited in the whore's trade, it's usually the whore.]

Update [10:00 p.m.]:  On Monday, Feb. 25, FAU students, faculty, alumni and staff, along with ACLU of Florida attorney Julie Ebenstein, will rally against the agreement to name FAU's football stadium after GEO Group.

"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," stated Ebenstein. "No glowing logo on the side of a stadium can stamp out the shameful record of neglect and mistreatment at GEO Group facilities."

Press Conference and Rally Against "Owlcatraz"

10:00AM, Monday, February 25th
Free Speech Lawn
Between Social Sciences Building and General Classroom South Building,
FAU Boca Raton Campus 

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 - 2737 media@aclufl.org; Gonzalo Vizcardo, Stop Owlcatraz Coalition, (561) 302 - 4906 stopowlcatraz@gmail.com

Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes fatal bite -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact fire.ant@browardpalmbeach.com.





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22 comments
valkyriecain
valkyriecain

Thank you so much for supporting our activist efforts through your favorable coverage. However, your use of the term "whore" reinforces harmful and misogynist stereotypes about sex workers. The term "whore" evokes oppressive images of women and sexuality, which have nothing to do with the situation at FAU. We appreciate your support, but do not appreciate language that is used to subordinate and devalue women. Please consider editing the article and publishing an addendum.

Sincerely,

Sarah Jenkins

President of The F-Word: FAU Feminists

pulseoxpoppins
pulseoxpoppins

Thank you for your continued coverage on our efforts to pressure FAU to divest from GEo group. However, please refrain from using misogynist and slut-shaming language to refer to the amoral behavior of the university. They are acting like bigots, not like sex workers. Changing this language and publishing an addendum would show good faith and a strong commitment to ALL kinds of social justice! Thank you!

icculus17
icculus17 topcommenter

and what does this $6M get used for? to hire better faculty? build better dorms? more parking spaces?  Follow the money...


A winning team and a diploma that means something would earn the school a lot more than $6M.


Aren't NOVA and FAU just diploma factories anyway?  I don't even trust this guy's bachelor's degree.

localGuy
localGuy

Rrrrrright, I'm sure you have a better solution.

which company would you endorse?  who has no blood on their hands? 

  How about new times?    there is always next year! 

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

Hahahaha.  Yea, let the government do it.  They are so efficient.  And there have been absolutely no abuses under their management.  And they aslo gave money to Marco Rubio!!  There's a disqualificatoin if I ever saw one.

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@icculus17 Just the kind of pr the school deserves for their boneheaded, shortsighted decision.

wifey2g
wifey2g

@localGuyYou could always get a company that is based locally or has a large branch here, just take your pick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_in_South_Florida  -How About Office Depot who is also based in BOCA RATON.- The point is that this company is so horrid in its treatment of prisoners and so underhanded in its business practices that On February 20, after the naming rights deal became public, a Wikipedia editor named "Abraham Cohen"  (the name of a GEO Group spokesman) deleted the "Controversies" section of the firm's Wikipedia article, replacing it with content copied from the firm's shareholder prospectus. After the section was restored, it was again deleted by an anonymous user whose IP address belonged to the GEO Group (per wikipedia).

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@localGuyA better solution would be for FAU to focus on academics rather than athletic glory.

localGuy
localGuy

@winsomelosesome spot on.  we could always create a NEWS TAX!  or how about a new College Sports tax?  

who's money should fund this?  -other than your money of course...  

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@winsomelosesome Keep reading.



winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

@fire.ant  Morning.  Hopeffully some of the things you decide to cover today will have more class and intellect than your retorts.  Hard to report with those blinders on but give it the old FAU try.  ...........Later

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@winsomelosesome Your lame "form" betrays you, and your buddy: Bevis and Butthead talk politics. Ugh.

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

Got it.  You're the judge of intelligent use of language.  I'll respond when and how I want.  You're not the only one with 1st ammendment rights.  Don't try to stifle opinion by belittling it's form.  Pick up your game, OK?

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@winsomelosesome It's got nothing to do with "my mind" and everything to do with the intelligent use of language. If you're taking up space here, put some effort into it. 

I may have to suffer fools but I don't have to suffer them gladly.

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

OMG what a dickhead.  You made a comment about myself and another poster, I responded,  and now your all huffy.  In your stilted, tilted, opinion, anything that is not of your mind set is "incoherent" and without wit.  Must be a blast to have a political conversation with you. 

fire.ant
fire.ant topcommenter

@winsomelosesome Fun for you, maybe. 

If your "tweaking" were coherent or showed some wit, it might also be fun for others. As it is, it's just a two-man circle jerk.

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

Because tweaking is fun.  Lighten up.  Someone is disagreeing with you.  That must have happened before.  Well, judging from your response...maybe not.

winsomelosesome
winsomelosesome topcommenter

No.. We're just focusing on relevant news rather than Blog glory.

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