Recently, I was part of an interview with Melissa Marturano and Sean M. Kennedy, both colleagues at the Graduate Center, and Ashley Agbasoga, a Brooklyn College senior and one of the main organizers of CUNY Prison Divest, and Ian Trupin, a full-time organizer with the Responsible Endowments Coalition and a fellow core organizer of CUNY Prison Divest. You can read the full interview on The Advocate’s website. Here’s the intro:
Through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, CUNY Prison Divest, a new cross-campus coalition of student-organizers working towards divestment from private prisons, was able to confirm that CUNY’s endowment has substantial investments in private-prison companies. These investments include the Geo Group, Inc. (with endowment holdings of $8,400 USD), Corrections Corporation of America (CCA; $13,300 USD), and G4S ($248,900 USD). CUNY is also invested in at least one major prison contractor, Aramark ($4,600 USD), and Wall Street firms that have at least one million private-prison shares apiece, including Wells Fargo ($743,800 USD) and Morgan Stanley ($157,500 USD). Though CUNY’s revenue comes primarily through state and city funding as well as tuition, CUNY’s endowment plays an increasingly important role as university fundraising from private donors increases as public funding decreases.