Word came out yesterday that Florida Atlantic University had sold the naming rights to its new football stadium to the GEO Group, which is the second largest private prison company in America. Since that news broke, there has been an outpouring of criticism. Now, it appears that in an effort to minimize the damage from this developing story, the GEO Group may have decided to give its Wikipedia page a facelift.
If you visited the page yesterday before the story became a New York Times headline, then you would have seen this section highlighting the company's sordid past:
Today, however, that entire section is nowhere to be found. Instead, you'll find a very corporate-friendly timeline touting the company's history, successes, and high-points. So who made the change? All the edits appear to have been performed by someone named Abraham Cohen, and there just happens to be an Abraham Cohen employed by the GEO Group as a spokesman.
As a result of Mr. Cohen's edits, Wikipedia has added the following disclaimer to the top of the page:
Clearly, if GEO Group did indeed edit its own Wikipedia page, this is not a company that cares about the truth or an open dialogue. Otherwise, why go to all the trouble to hide the section labeled controversies that appeared on the page yesterday? This is a corporation that wants to control the information and discourage people from getting the entire story. Now aren't those values completely antithetical to everything a university is supposed to stand for?
We think so. If you agree, then head over to Beyond Bars' online petition asking Florida Atlantic University to drop the GEO Group.
UPDATE: Beyond Bars' video and action on this issue are here:
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