Matt Hinsta / Sun File Photo

Cornell University's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art has severed ties with the security company, G4S Secure Solutions USA.

March 22, 2016

Johnson Museum Terminates Contract With Company With Alleged Ties to Prison Industry

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This story has been updated with additional information.

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art will terminate its contract with G4S Secure Solutions USA — a security service company that Black Students United says has ties to the prison industry — according to administrator Renee Alexander ’74.

Provost and Acting President Michael Kotlikoff said the museum’s relationship with G4S will be terminated in a letter, said Alexander, the associate dean and director of intercultural programs, student and academic services and advisor to BSU.

Cornell’s Division of Financial Affairs had previously contracted with G4S for consultation on Johnson museum security, according to the DFA website. The company provides risk consultation, investigation and technology support services, according to the security firm’s website.

Additionally, G4S has “been linked to the private prison industry, both domestic and abroad,” according to a BSU press release.

“Incarceration across the globe has wreaked havoc on communities of color,” BSU said in the release on Monday. “Any step the University takes in distancing itself from that brutal system is a step in the right direction.”

BSU representatives Samari Gilbert ’17 and Carlton Burrell ’16 said they hope this successful step in their prison divestment campaign will challenge the University to “more critically examine all of the companies it does business with.”

“We appreciate the progressive steps that the administration has taken and hope the University will continue this in other industries,” they said.

Gilbert and Burrell also cited the increased diversity of Gannett Health Service’s staff as a sign of progress in addressing the challenges that many students of color face at Cornell. The two expressed their hope that further change will continue in ameliorating these conditions.

“We believe their most recent changes are an excellent first step in addressing these issues,” they said. “We are optimistic that additional staff of color and support groups will be an asset to the entire Cornell community.”

John Carberry, director of Media Relations, added that the University is pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with BSU on their demands.

“The administration has been working closely with BSU and other student groups on a number of issues, and we are very pleased with the progress that has been made,” Carberry said.