As a 2011 graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s MBA Sport Management program, I have eagerly followed the progress of the football stadium project, and I understand how attractive the naming rights deal with GEO Group must be. However, I believe that moving forward with this deal would be disastrous from both ethical and public relations perspectives.
GEO Group’s record of human rights violations, physical and sexual abuse, and neglect has received considerable media attention since the announcement. The company’s response, repeatedly censoring accurate and properly cited information from its Wikipedia page, reveals a lack of transparency. Partnering with an organization that conceals evidence of its own unethical conduct would contradict the ideals of the university. It would also be bad business.
Each new allegation against GEO Group will reflect directly upon the university. Partnership with the GEO Group offers no synergy for potential sponsors in the industries that traditionally support athletic departments, and many firms will be unwilling to see their brands associated with the prison-industrial complex, particularly at a time when the nation’s swelling prison population has become a source of great concern and controversy.
My academic experience at FAU was very rewarding, and construction of the stadium was a powerful symbol of FAU’s growth and transition from commuter school to reputable university. The GEO Group deal would tarnish that symbol, forever branding the stadium as “Owlcatraz.” Taking the money at the expense of the school’s ideals and integrity as an academic institution would be a huge step in the wrong direction, and would undermine FAU’s credibility on a national scale.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Why not rename entire university?
Florida Atlantic University’s agreement to rename the new football stadium after the GEO Group shows a lack of imagination on both sides of the table.
FAU could have realized many more millions and GEO could have gained so much more exposure by simply renaming the entire institution after GEO. Think of the synergy. Instead of the Owls, hardly a tough image, the athletes would be called the Screws or the Bulls. The players could carry nightsticks and handcuffs. And just like the Swamp, the playground for that football power in Gainesville, the stadium might be called something like the Clink or the Slammer. Unfortunately, the Big House has been taken by the University of Michigan.
Firm could have avoided uproar
Concerning the controversy about the Florida Atlantic University accepting millions from a prison corporation to name its stadium: It is turning into a public relations disaster.
If the GEO Group had given these millions toward Florida Atlantic University’s medical school or to establish a science center, I doubt we would have any real complaints about it. However, there are so many problems with college sports. including many cases of corruption, that any rational person would feel that this prison company is just pouring gasoline on the fire.
I just read that there will be a great shortage of doctors in Florida. If GEO had sponsored medical scholarships, the company could have shown how it is trying to help the people of Florida, which might have mitigated the reports that the company was accused of human rights abuses in its prisons.
West Palm Beach
Century Village must look ahead
Regarding “Officials take 4th swing at course”: Tough decision for Century Village West Palm Beach.
If the developer wins, the residents get a modern complex that will bring jobs and taxes. It will be like a mini-CityPlace, which transformed downtown West Palm Beach Beach. They can insist on a lavishly landscaped berm to give the residents the privacy they seek.
If the residents who oppose the project get their way, they’ll get years of weed-infested, unkempt acreage visible to the residents as well as all the traffic on Haverhill Road. If those residents win, the village will have won the battle but lost the war.
Arts Garage flap
good for Delray
I think the recent Arts Garage controversy was a win-win for Delray Beach (“Delray seeks space option for arts group, law firm.”)
The Arts Garage, although highly subsidized, is necessary for Delray to complete the downtown. With shops and restaurants, the arts are very important ingredients for a successful city. On the other hand, the law firm is keeping or creating 205 jobs. That also is important for a thriving downtown. Whether the “scolding” of the Community Redevelopment Agency was deserved or not, the controversy got the CRA’s eye on the problem.
CRA Director Diane Colonna is one of our smartest talents. If Mayor Tom Carney hurt her feelings, that can be rectified, but what he did was shed light on a problem that might have gone unnoticed if not for his remarks. Kudos to Mayor Carney. Keep them both.
Nothing passive about patient God
In my humble way, I am responding to the letter, “A passive God.”
No, God is not a passive God. He was not passive when he created man. He was not passive when he gave man the freedom to accept or reject him. He was not passive when he chose not to control man. He was not passive when he allowed two opposite forces to control and rule the Earth. He was not passive when he saw man’s failure to choose right over wrong.
In this passion, he offered his only son, Jesus, as a sacrifice and mediator for man’s salvation. All he asked for in return was to believe this miracle. Revelation 22:19 reads, “If any man takes away the words of this book, he shall take away their part in the coming Holy City, and the things written in this book.”
No, God is not passive, but a long-suffering patient God offering the gift of salvation to anyone who believes. Nothing passive here, but an exciting promise of love and hope.
ANDREE DOUGLAS SMITH
Palm Beach Gardens
Other presidents used sports to relax
When I read the criticism about President Barack Obama’s golf visit, I had to laugh.
How many other presidents used sports to relax? Dwight Eisenhower led the Free World against Germany. Would you have told him to hold off golf till retirement?
President George W. Bush spent more time away from office than any other president. He loved to work out at his Texas ranch.
So don’t begrudge Mr. Obama taking time to unwind after a grueling campaign, facing huge problems every day. And the private, upscale golf club was deemed the safest place for him by the Secret Service.
ALAN B. BENJAMIN
Catholic-bashing letter is off base
I take exception to the letter, “Why Catholics are leaving the church.” The writer quoted Ross Douthat’s recent column about Catholics losing influence. His letter doesn’t address Mr. Douthat’s main points about the church and its historical influence. Instead, it’s another Catholic-bashing opportunity.
We see and hear it everywhere, especially in the media and from Hollywood via movies and TV shows. I applaud Mark Wahlberg at the Oscars for announcing his Catholicism to the world. Further, I know what I am paying for when I drop my money in the collection box, because my parish issues a yearly financial statement of expenditures.
Do I need to know every nickel of what the priests of our parish are buying at the local grocery store or Wal-Mart? No. I see their modest home and cars. The priests I know are not spending exorbitant amounts of money on themselves, their staffs or anyone else. The sex abuse issue has been addressed and dealt with. I applaud the Catholic Church for that. It has happened in other groups and among other religious denominations, but we don’t hear or read about that because of the current targeting of the Catholic Church.
I feel thankful that I was born into a Catholic family that traces its Catholicism back through a multitude of generations and guides my spiritual faith on a daily basis. My prayer is, “This too shall pass.”