The University of Virginia administration announced early this semester that global private security firm G4S would be providing security for the Corner, in response to public outcry over UVA’s rape culture.
The University is beginning to implement a new “ambassadors” program with staff from the international security firm G4S providing additional support in the area near the University where many students live and spend time. After U.Va. representatives visited several other institutions this fall to learn about similar programs, the University selected G4S to implement the ambassadors program to escort members of the University community who might otherwise be walking alone at night and to increase a security presence in areas that students frequent after dark. (UVA Today, University Unveils Additional Safety Initiatives)
In late March, the Board of Visitors approved a 3.6% tuition and fees increase (in addition to the 11% “Affordable Excellence” hike), part of which funds the $1.6 million contract with G4S (see slide 14).
G4S is known around the world as a flagrant violator of human rights.
Vanity Fair, The Chaos Company:
G4S is based near London and is traded on the stock exchange there. Though it remains generally unknown to the public, it has operations in 120 countries and more than 620,000 employees. In recent years it has become the third-largest private employer in the world, after Walmart and the Taiwanese manufacturing conglomerate Foxconn. The fact that such a huge private entity is a security company is a symptom of our times … Critics worry about the divisive effects of an industry that isolates the rich from the consequences of greed and at the extreme allows certain multi-national companies, particularly in oil and mining, to run roughshod over the poor.
G4S helps the Israeli prison service to run prisons inside Israel that hold prisoners from occupied Palestinian territory, despite the fourth Geneva convention prohibition of the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier. Through its involvement in Israel’s prison system, G4S is complicit in violations of international law and participates in Israel’s use of mass incarceration as a means by which to dissuade Palestinians from protesting against Israel’s systematic human rights abuses.
A complaint lodged with police by the human-rights group Reprieve alleges that G4S may be liable for prosecution in Britain under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 if it has profited from human-rights abuses at the prison, such as the use of force-feeding techniques.
British private security giant G4S has announced a pre-tax profit of £148 million for 2014, owning to its growing foreign expansion … G4S remains a controversial player in the security sector. Activists accuse it of turning a blind eye to over-charging, cost-cutting, negligence and human rights abuses. While G4S has an ethical policy framework in place, evidence suggests a significant gap between its commitments on paper and its practices.
It’s baffling that the BOV and administration think more security on the Corner will help UVA’s sexual assault epidemic, considering most assaults involve acquaintances or intimate partners and occur behind closed doors. It’s scary that they signed G4S.
Why are our tuition dollars funding this?
As the Martese Johnson incident demonstrated, increased law enforcement on the Corner does way more harm than good.