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Students Protest Prison Industrial Complex

Human rights advocates charge Sodexho affiliate with running substandard facilities that routinely abuse inmates.
Evanston, IL -- The Prison Moratorium Project of Northwestern University will stage a protest on Friday, February 9, 2001 at 2:00pm at Norris Student Center on the Northwestern University Campus to oppose Northwestern's dining hall and catering contracts with Sodexho-Marriott Food Services. Sodexho Alliance is the largest institutional shareholder in Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader, and in September, SA signed an agreement to purchase U.K. Detention Services and Corrections Corporation of Australia (CCA); a move that makes Sodexho Alliance the third largest overseas private prison company with nearly 3,000 beds under contract.

The protest is part of a nationwide campaign -- Dump Sodexho/Not With Our Money - that has garnered increasing support on college campuses across the country. Human rights activists have charged CCA with running substandard facilities that routinely violate the human rights of inmates, and have documented extensive abuses in CCA sites.

Northwestern University requires students to pay for a meal plan that ultimately channels students' money into investment in private prisons. "The University binds us into using Sodexho by requiring that not only our meal plans, but all of our catering for campus events must be contracted through Sodexho," said Kate Krepel. a Northwestern Prison Moratorium Project organizer. The protesters demand that the Northwestern administration agree to terminate the school's contract with Sodexho Marriott Services if parent company Sodexho
Alliance does not divest its private prison holdings. "I want to be sure that the money I am spending isn't going to something that I don't morally support," said Ryan Murdock, another member of Northwestern's Prison Moratorium Project.

According to organizers of Not With Our Money!, a national student campaign working to end prison privatization and hold corporations that support the industry accountable, students at more than 50 campuses across the U.S. and Canada are working to "Dump Sodexho," and students at four campuses--State University of NY at Albany, Evergreen State College (WA), Goucher College
(MD) and James Madison University--have successfully dumped the food service
provider. "We're hoping to add Northwestern to the list of successes for this campaign," said Gwen Kemper.

The protest has been endorsed by groups that include Northwestern Students Against Sweatshops, (NSAS) which is hosting a conference for United Students Against Sweatshops, a gathering of midwestern college student groups that oppose sweatshops. The USAS conference will be held the weekend of February 9-11, 2001. The PMP protest will kick off the USAS conference.



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