Prison Divestment Toolkit

With our community partners, REC co-authored Private Prison Divestment: A Toolkit for Campus Organizers.  Check it out!

This toolkit provides a step-by-step guide on how you as a student body can organize to  dismantle the PIC by organizing a divestment campaign on your campus. We explain why divestment is critical to overcoming the profit driven criminal and immigration systems and the mechanics of getting your university to divest. We feature a case study on the historic divestment victory at Columbia University that will inform and inspire your strategy. GEO Group (GEO) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are driving the mass incarceration of people of color in the U.S., and internationally with G4S. In the U.S., these for profit prison companies have successfully lobbied for policies that lock Black and Brown bodies  behind bars, with our tax dollars paying private companies to keep them there. With the financial assistance of their major investors, CCA and GEO will continue to lobby for policies  that fuel mass incarceration and the mass detention of immigrants. By taking on private  prisons, we are able to strategically target a cornerstone of the PIC.

This toolkit is provided by the Private Prison Divestment Campaign, an effort coordinated by Enlace. 

Prison Divestment Toolkit Cover





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Oberlin Students and Alumni Demand Accountability, Not Corporate Criminal Trustees

In the wake of the revelation last week that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed financial fraud charges against Oberlin Trustee and Investment Committee Chair Thomas Kutzen, students from Oberlin's Responsible Investing Organization and Oberlin Alumni for a Responsible Endowment issued the following statement condemning the corporatization of the university and calling for greater transparency and value alignment in Oberlin's process for selecting new trustees.


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Victory! Columbia Divests Private Prisons

Just yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call I’d been anticipating for months. It was Asha Rosa, one of the co-founders of Columbia Prison Divest, a campaign REC has worked with since mid-2013. She was calling to let me know that the Board of Trustees had just publicly announced their decision to divest all of Columbia’s holdings in private prison companies, and to enact a negative screen to prevent any future investments in the private prison industry.

This is the first time in history that an institution of higher education has committed to divesting its holdings the private prison industry.

When a group of Columbia students of color first marched into President Bollinger’s office in February 2014 to demand (among other things) that the University drop $10 million dollars in direct holdings in private prison companies, there were only three active university prison divestment campaigns. Today there are more than a dozen campaigns, and our power is growing, from UCLA to Wesleyan College, and from University of Minnesota to University of Central Florida.

However, this momentum is about more than even colleges’ and universities’ immediate complicity in the prison industrial complex via investments. As Columbia Prison Divest organizer Dunni Oduyemi reflects:

"We targeted the university’s investments in two private prison companies, but we hope that private prison divestment campaigns, with the abolitionist vision of a larger anti-prison movement, can help us start working towards divesting from the idea that prisons equal justice, which we believe to be fundamentally racist.


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#PrisonDivest Allies Protest Marco Rubio in CT!

Last Thursday, I took the Metro North Train up from New York City to Stamford, Connecticut to protest Florida Senator and Republican 2016 presidential contender Marco Rubio.


The protest, which was organized by a coalition of progressive and immigrant rights groups, took place outside the Stamford Hilton, where Rubio had been invited to speak as "guest of honor" at the Annual Prescott Award Dinner, a conservative fundraiser event.

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Alumni: Support Fossil Fuel Divestment at UMW!



UPDATE: Two UMW students and one Fredericksburg resident were arrested on March for refusing to leave an administrative building at the culmination of a 21-day sit-in for fossil fuel divestment! See more on the story here


UMW Alumni,

Last month, hundreds of students from across the state marched on University of Mary Washington to support our call for divestment. Since then, students in Virginia have tripled the number of campaigns on their campuses calling for divestment.

The UMW board rejected their proposal to move forward on divestment -- but the students aren't taking no for an answer. Instead, 12 days ago, we launched a sit-in to ask the UMW Board of Visitors #whoseside are you on?

Numerous school leaders, including BOV Rector Holly Cuellar, have said they agree we must combat climate change but disagree on means to do so. Because of the urgency of our fight, we need to use all the tools we have to fight for climate justice.

UMW students know that this is a historic time in the divestment movement. Swarthmore launched a sit-in two weeks ago on their campus as a strategic escalation in the 5th year of their campaign for divestment from fossil fuels. This escalation kicked off a series of coordinated actions across the nation with the Divestment Student Network, and a pledge to escalate with nonviolent direct action from hundreds of other students.

By saying “no” to divestment, schools have chosen to turn their backs on our generation, and side with a rogue industry whose business plan is incompatible with a just and stable world. UMW students have exhausted all other options, and know that nonviolent direct action is the only way to force Rector Cuellar and the BOV back to the negotiation table.

As we near the two-week mark of the sit-in, we’re beginning to see tangible progress. We need the support of our campus community more than ever. We’ll be focusing on drawing in support from alumni and faculty this week to further isolate the BOV and administration. As alumni,here’s six ways you can support and stand with us:

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Alumni for Dartmouth Divestment: An open Letter of support for fossil fuel divestment

Dear President Hanlon, the Board of Trustees & the Advisor Committee on Investor Responsibility,

We, as Alumni for Dartmouth Divestment, are writing to urge you to move forward on divestment of Dartmouth’s portfolio from fossil fuel companies. We understand that current Dartmouth students are working with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility to complete a report on this issue. We are awaiting your response and action. As concerned alumni we are diverting our Annual Fund donations to the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund, where they will be held until Dartmouth divests. We add our voices to the students’ in support of divestment.


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"Divestment and a People’s Crisis"


A post from Colorado College student organizer Ben Criswell and Colorado College alum Chris Edmonds, class of 2014. 

Our congressional delegation is one of the least productive in history, and its approval ratings linger below cockroaches and Nixon during Watergate. But when pushed hard enough, Congress does act out of necessity. When committed to an outcome, Congress has has bailed out Wall Street, protected Social Security, and allocated billions abroad attempting to police the world.

President Obama declared “no challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” in January’s State of the Union; still, Congress contests anthropogenic climate change. Last year’s Pentagon report states that climate change is an immediate threat to national security through terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages; still, our representatives recklessly deny the facts.

We know that if we accept our lawmakers’ deficient agenda and stick with “business-as-usual,” global warming will change everything about our world. Major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be washed away by the ocean, and nearly all forms of life will have to cope with extreme droughts and violent storms. And all we have to do to bring about this future is nothing. We just have to continue to deny this full-blown climate crisis and invest in the fossil fuel industry.

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Changing Times: Multi-Campus Coalition and Alumni Mobilization Advance Fossil Fuel Divestment


Students around the world are rising and we will no longer accept silence. Today, the Investure Schools Coalition for Fossil Fuel Divestment sent a letter to each of our colleges’ presidents requesting a meeting between administrators and representatives from our divestment campaigns. We are sending this letter in conjunction with the National Alumni Escalation for Fossil Fuel Divestment and are requesting that our presidents respond by the culmination of Harvard Heat Week for Fossil Fuel Divestment on April 17th.

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Colorado College has a new Responsible Endowments Fund!

By Anna Kelly


Photo credit: Veronica Spann.

This morning, the Student Divestment Committee (SDC) will ask the Board of Trustees to reconsider divesting from fossil fuels. The group will present their most recent strategic move—the creation of a fund called the Colorado College Responsible Endowment Fund (CCREF) which collects donations from alumni that are contingent on the Board’s divestment by 2016.

This is not the first time that the subject has been brought to the board, but this time the SDC is bringing a carrot instead of a stick. This action is, for the SDC, an escalation of efforts after what they see as dismissive responses from the Board to other tactics.

“We have tried to come at this problem from all angles,” said Ben Criswell, a junior student leader for the SDC. “So now we’re trying to talk in dollars and cents with this initiative and show that our students and our alumni are willing to put money behind their sentiment and really walk the walk of this thing.”

The SDC has raised over $5,000 since the endowment fund was initiated on February 4th. As of Tuesday night, 17 people have donated.

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REC Hosts Prison Divestment Campaign Steering Meeting


On Friday, February 13th, REC got to host the National Private Prison Divestment Campaign steering committee at our downtown Brooklyn office. Along with our dear friends at Enlace, we were honored to share our space with folks from Grassroots Leadership, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

In addition to eating some delicious Thai food and sharing some really decadent cheesecake for Ian's 24th birthday (thanks Lauren!), we were able to get to down and dirty crafting a plan for the next four months of the Campaign.

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