The following letter was sent to NYU administration in response to Columbia University’s decision to divest from the private prison industry:
Hello NYU Administrators and Deans,
We are writing to share the good news: Columbia University’s Board of Trustees has voted to divest from the private prison industry! This historic victory comes after 16 months of vigorous organizing led by black students who refused to turn away as their school profited from the war on black and brown communities. Please join us in our heartfelt congratulations.
We urge NYU to follow the lead of Columbia University and disentangle itself from the nasty web of mass incarceration and white supremacy.
We, as NYU students and representatives of the Incarceration to Education Coalition, urge the Board of Trustees to take immediate action to:
Abolish THE BOX! THE BOX is a racist mode of perpetual punishment and surveillance inflicted on individuals with documented criminal histories. There is no justification for continuing this discriminatory practice. There is no such thing as a “non-biased assessment” of criminal records when the punishment system is built on racism, dehumanization, and binary categorization. IEC published an in-depth response to the new policy regarding THE BOX and we encourage you to read it.
We hope that Columbia University’s decision will inspire you to seriously reconsider how NYU and THE BOX perpetuates the racist prison-industrial complex.
– The Incarceration to Education Coalition (IEC)