You may recall, back in February, the announcement that the GEO Group, a prison corporation, had donated several million dollars to Florida Atlantic University and would be granted naming rights to the Owls' stadium. Much consternation ensued. The GEO Group scrambled to defend itself against repeated and varied reports of inmate abuse. A nickname was coined:
The school being Florida Atlantic, we kinda forgot about it for a little bit. Folks in Boca Raton, not so much. Protests against the sponsorship continued, and the GEO Group has withdrawn its donation:
The gift was a 12-year commitment with annual payments of $500,000. GEO said that as "a symbol of our continuing admiration for FAU," it will still donate $500,000 toward this year's academic scholarship program.
ACLU staff attorney Carl Takei, whose organization has been actively involved in protesting the GEO Group sponsorship, calls this a touchdown for human rights. “This is a milestone in the growing movement against for-profit prisons and mass incarceration,” said Takei. “When people force the private prison industry to defend its record, companies like GEO can no longer win with lobbyists, money and lies. The students and faculty at the university can now breathe a little easier knowing they won’t have to watch football at ‘Owlcatraz’ next season.” With respect, just because we like the way it sounds, we do hope the Owlcatraz nickname will endure regardless of future sponsor affiliation.