Columbia Becomes the First Major University to Divest From For-Profit Prison Companies
Though it’s questionable why Columbia University decided to buy over 230,000 shares of the biggest private prison company in the U.S. in the first place, on Monday it announced it not only gave up those shares but that it will no longer invest in such businesses.
From The Huffington Post:
Columbia University trustees voted Monday to divest from for-profit prison companies because of concerns about mass incarceration, becoming the first major university to do so.
Columbia, in New York, owned more than 230,000 shares of Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private prison company, headquartered in Nashville, Rolling Stone reported last year. The school no longer owns those shares, law professor Jeff Gordon disclosed in April. The school still holds shares in G4S, a British prison and security services company.
The trustees’ vote pledges Columbia will not invest its endowment of more than $8 billion in for-profit prisons in the future. It follows a recommendation this year from the school’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing, and was endorsed by university President Lee Bollinger.
“This action occurs within the larger, ongoing discussion of the issue of mass incarceration that concerns citizens from across the ideological spectrum,” Columbia trustees said in a statement. “We are proud that many Columbia faculty and students will continue their scholarly examination and civic engagement of the underlying social issues that have led to and result from mass incarceration.”
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