Columbia University will divest from for-profit prison companies because of concerns about mass incarceration, becoming the first major university to do so, Huffington Post reports. Columbia owned more than 230,000 shares of Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company, Rolling Stone has reported. The school no longer owns those shares, but it holds shares in G4S, a British prison and security services company.
The trustees’ vote this week follows a recommendation from the school’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing, and was endorsed by university President Lee Bollinger. “This action occurs within the larger, ongoing discussion of the issue of mass incarceration that concerns citizens from across the ideological spectrum,” Columbia’s trustees said. “We are proud that many Columbia faculty and students will continue their scholarly examination and civic engagement of the underlying social issues that have led to and result from mass incarceration.”