University president won’t join board of prison operator


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The president of historically Black Tennessee State University abruptly reversed course Friday after it was announced she would join the board of private prison operator CoreCivic.

In explaining her change of heart on Twitter, Glenda Glover, who is Black, wrote that she had been interested in joining the board in order to help “the African American incarcerated population” but decided to decline the opportunity after listening to “voices that I trust.”

A Thursday news release stated that Glover would join the board of the Tennessee-based company beginning March 1. Glover said in the release that she wanted to be “an inside voice that can help CoreCivic realize the full potential of its purpose of helping people prepare for the next step in their lives.”

Community leaders in Nashville immediately denounced the decision.

Metro Council member Delishia Danielle Porterfield, a TSU graduate, wrote on Twitter that she was hearing from dozens of alumni who were furious.

“You can be the change & partner w/ them on educational opportunities w/o sitting on the Board of an org that profits off of people’s pain & aids to the separation of families,” Porterfield wrote. “This is unacceptable & I hope the students are organizing to make their voices heard.”

Tequila Johnson, a TSU graduate and executive director of Nashville nonprofit The Equity Alliance, wrote on Twitter that CoreCivic wanted Glover as a public relations move.

“This will not stop the demand to end private prisons,” she wrote. “Black people aren’t moved by one or two of us smiling with the oppressor.”

Glover said on Twitter that TSU has developed a partnership with CoreCivic that includes student scholarships, an endowment for the school’s criminal justice department and expanded educational opportunities for recently released inmates. Glover also said she had intended to donate her board compensation to TSU.

In a statement, CoreCivic spokesperson Amanda Gilchrist said Glover was “experiencing the impact of misinformation about our company and industry that we work hard to address every day.” Gilchrist said CoreCivic hopes to work with Glover in the future.

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