Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover will not join the board of publicly traded prison operator CoreCivic after all.
Glover, who is also the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said Friday morning she would not join the company’s board less than 24 hours after CoreCivic announced her appointment. Her appointment was to have become effective March 1.
“After careful consideration and listening to voices that I trust, I have decided to decline the offer to join the Board of Directors of CoreCivic, Inc.,” she wrote.
In announcing the decision, Glover defended her initial decision to partner with the company, which operates local, state and federal prisons, including for federal immigration authorities. She said she was joining the board, at the urging of current board member Thurgood Marshall Jr., because of her “interest in assisting the African American incarcerated population” and cited Tennessee State’s work with the company on scholarships, re-entry work and an endowment in the criminal justice department. Additionally, she said, compensation from the board position was supposed to be donated to the school.
A group of TSU and AKA alumni expressed their displeasure with the decision to join the board in the hours after it was announced Thursday afternoon.
Keeda Haynes — a TSU graduate, former public defender and former inmate at a CoreCivic facility — told the Post she was "very shocked when I saw it and really had no understanding as to why anyone thought that this was a good idea."
"To have an HBCU president sitting on the board and partnering with them, it’s beyond my understanding when Black people are the ones that have been disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration, and this is an organization known for fueling mass incarceration," Haynes added. "Those two things just don’t go together."
Haynes — senior legal counsel at Free Hearts, a Tennessee nonprofit focused on the families of incarcerated women — said Glover and TSU should partner with other organizations if they want to work on criminal justice reform issues, not CoreCivic.
"I just hope this is a teachable moment and moving forward decisions made about criminal justice reform at Tennessee State University, they will be more active in engaging people in the community that are doing the work on an every-day basis," Haynes said.
Students and alumni Belmont University also have in recent years pushed officials leading their school to cut ties with the locally headquartered company.