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GEO Group withdraws $6 million gift to FAU

April 2, 2013 at 7:50 AM

BOCA RATON, Fla., April 2 (UPI) -- Private prison operator GEO Group has withdrawn a planned $6 million gift to Florida Atlantic University, both sides said.

University spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf sent an email saying the gift, intended to put GEO's name on the school's football stadium, was being withdrawn, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

GEO Group chairman George Zoley is a two-time FAU alumnus and former chairman of the university's board of trustees.

"What was originally intended as a gesture of GEO's goodwill to financially assist the university's athletic scholarship program has surprisingly evolved into an ongoing distraction to both of our organizations," said Zoley.

Serious criticism of GEO Group's planned gift came from human rights organizations over the company's reputation for housing prisoners in unhealthy conditions.

Monday a coalition of more than 60 civil rights, immigrant, student and faith organizations delivered a letter opposing the gift to the university's president and board of trustees before marching in front of the stadium.

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