Action Alert: Demand Columbia Univ President Meet with Students about Prison Divestment

Earlier this week Columbia Prison Divest sent a letter to President Bollinger requesting a meeting. In order for the request to be successful, we need your help. Please send an email expressing your support for our request (from your Barnard or Columbia account if you are affiliated with the school). Below is a suggested email. Thank you again for all of your help. We can’t do this without you.

Title: In Support of Columbia Prison Divest’s Meeting Request

bollinger@columbia.edu

Hello President Bollinger,

I am writing you in support of Columbia Prison Divest Campaign’s request for a meeting with you. As I am sure you know, the students of Columbia Prison Divest are engaged in the process you have frequently made reference to through the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. They have formally presented to the committee and are working with the ACSRI to conduct further research supporting their position on divestment from the private prison industry (specifically CCA, the GEO Group and G4S). Because I see a fundamental contradiction between investment in incarceration and what this university stands for, because this is a matter of what is just and for whom we demand justice, because this is a direct relationship between our privilege at Columbia and the denial of human dignity elsewhere, because Columbia’s profit from the suffering and disenfranchisement of people in drastically different circumstances than ours puts the prestige of this university in question, this is a matter that warrants more than just research, more than presentations behind closed doors. What has begun is a conversation about incarceration and profit at Columbia. Students and professors are having this conversation already and I believe that the president of our university ought to be engaged in it as well. In your Welcome Letter, you asserted your belief that “Columbia is ideally suited to reflect on and respond to the challenges of this new era” in which we must “fulfill our responsibilities as active, engaged citizens.” And here we are. I support Columbia Prison Divest’s request for a meeting sometime in the next two weeks (as your schedule permits) with two students from Columbia Prison Divest so that we–the Columbia community–can begin the part of this process that includes you.

Best,

(Your Name)

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