Students Demand Washington University Cut Ties With Prisons



Students Demand Washington University Cut Ties With Prisons

St. Louis Students in Solidarity is releasing a list of demands in support of Decarcerate St. Louis, calling for a public disclosure of Washington University’s financial investments in prisons, following students organizing universities across the country to address racial injustice on college campuses and their surrounding communities.

Enterprise Holdings CEO and Washington University board of trustees member Andrew Taylor connects the university with profits from correctional facilities. Taylor holds the majority stake in Centric Group, which oversees a network of prison service companies called Keefe Group.

Operating in more than 800 private and public prisons across the country, Keefe secures its profits through price mark-ups on commissary goods, including food and toiletries, and fees for services and utilities, such as phone, internet, and money transfers. Keefe is projected to make $8.5 million a year in their new contract with Missouri prisons.

St. Louis Students in Solidarity is releasing the new set of demands after Chancellor Mark Wrighton and the Washington University board of trustees failed to follow up on a student call for a transparent and ethical endowment a part of a larger picture of expanding resources for students of color on campus and improving the relationship between Wash.U and the surrounding St. Louis community.

Decarcerate St. Louis, an organization founded by formerly incarcerated St. Louisans, is calling on Taylor for the investment of 1% of Enterprise Holdings $12.8 billion net annual profit towards efforts statistically proven to decrease rates of incarceration in St. Louis neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration.

In conjunction with Decarcerate’s “Justice, Not Charity” campaign, St. Louis Students in Solidarity demands (1) Taylor comply with Decarcerate St. Louis’s demands; (2) Craig Schnucks use his position as the chair of Washington University’s board of trustees to remove Taylor from the board; and (3) Chancellor Wrighton publicly disclose Washington University’s investments and financial connections to prisons.

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