Belmont Students and Alumni Coalition Claim Private Prisons Are Racist, Call for University to Remove CoreCivic CEO from Board of Trustees



A coalition of Belmont University students and alumni called on the university to remove all ties with private prison company CoreCivic in a virtual town hall on Wednesday. The moderators and panelists cited the connection as proof of systemic racism and theological issues.

Be Better Belmont formed mid-July in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

In a “Letter of Demands,” the coalition asks the university for all information on their relationship to CoreCivic, the removal of CoreCivic CEO and President Damon Hininger from the Board of Trustees, and the refusal of all funding from CoreCivic. Other requested resignations include Andrea Overby, Joe Russell, Marty Dickens, and John Ferguson.

The coalition also asks for all information on the university’s “governance structures and investment patterns.” It claims that any alignment with prisons directly conflicts with the university’s dedication to Christianity.

In its following list of demands, Be Better Belmont also calls for “anti-racism” to become part of the university’s value and mission; increased diversity in staffing; elimination of “colonist exchanges” and “white savior tendencies” in service programs; a “hate and bias incident reporting system;” more social justice, racial justice, and gender studies curriculum; and reparations for slavery.

Be Better Belmont declined to give a comment on the matter. A spokesperson responded in an email:

“My apologies but I agreed [to an interview] without giving our team a chance to review your publication more closely. Upon further review, we realized we don’t align on the values of your publication. We will have to respectfully decline. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit our website at Thanks for your interest.”

CoreCivic Public Affairs Manager Ryan Gustin stated that Be Better Belmont, along with other activists, have made a number of false claims about their company. They deny claims of lobbying for truth-in-sentencing and three strikes laws, having inferior prison qualities, and having twice as many homicides within their Tennessee facilities.

Spokespersons for Belmont University didn’t respond by press time.

Be Better Belmont will host their monthly open house meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. CDT.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “CoreCivic CEO Damon Hininger” by CoreCivic CEO. Photo “Belmont University” by deldevries. CC BY-SA 2.0.







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14 Thoughts to “Belmont Students and Alumni Coalition Claim Private Prisons Are Racist, Call for University to Remove CoreCivic CEO from Board of Trustees”

  1. DJT

    Wow Belmont used to be such a great institution now look at it. SAD!

  2. Rev. Jim Jones

    A man of faith can do whatever wants because he has the power of god and scripture on his side. I mean just look at me and what my church did. We can do anything and are absolved by the power of God because he is our redeemer! Won’t he do it!! Amen!!!!

  3. Ida Know

    Good news! Belmont’s website says the word “Christian” 508 times, which means that they can never do anything wrong! They are a CHRISTIAN school, so even though it might seem like they are doing a bad thing by partnering with incarceration, it’s ok because they said CHRISTIAN! You can do whatever you want if you say CHRISTIAN!

  4. Scooby Doo Villain

    I don’t know he details of Belmont’s relationship to CoreCivic, and I refuse to consider or investigate the matter further. Damn these meddling Marxist kids and their dog!

  5. Bob F

    Why would we divest from CoreCivic? They legally make so much money! That’s what we need.

  6. David S. Blackwell RN, BSN

    The drug war certainly is racist to the core. It always has been. Look into it. Here are 15 quotes.

  7. jbellar

    just got off reading belmonts website. seems every,paragraph has the word christian in it. maybe something got left out when it comes to not judging others and bearing false witness. my preaches always says if you dont like this church,just leave. no drama. just leave.

  8. Bill Hamblin

    Me Bumpus has firmly struck the Marxist nail squarely on its head. Just listen to their language. Right out of the Marx playbook. If they find Belmont a hostile environment they need to transfer out. I am a graduate. If Belmont succumbs to these lies it will lose alumni support. Tell them to get out. Their demands don’t deserve a reply. Bill, class of 79.

  9. John

    Well I am making a call to revoke Belmont’s academic accreditation and classify this so-called higher level learning institution as a Marxist indoctrination center.

  10. John Bumpus

    “Belmont Students and Alumni Coalition Claim Private Prisons Are Racist, Call for University to Remove CoreCivic CEO from Board of Trustees”

    THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS BEGINS! I have seen this scenario ‘play out’ many times before. I have seen this scenario ‘play out’ going back to my own college days in the 1960s. NOW is a time of GREAT MOMENT for Belmont University.

    I don’t know the particulars of the issue being discussed, but I would wager that the ‘particulars’ are just an excuse for the real issue which is, WHO WILL CONTROL THE UNIVERSITY?! The charge of RACISM is just a lot of ‘hooey’ used to threaten to try to insure that these activists get their way. To me, THIS charge is the ‘red flag’ that political extremists are trying to take over.

    If Belmont does not want to see its University destroyed, ultimately, in time (and probably not very much time at that), it should tell its students to leave and go elsewhere if they don’t like its governance decisions. Belmont should likewise dismiss its faculty and staff who continue to support these ‘pip-squeak’ students in this regard. BU doesn’t need people working for it who are trying to destroy the institution from within. And if Alumni (Alumnae) don’t like Belmont’s decisions, they don’t have to support its decisions financially.

    Are the views of the good people of Nashville and Tennessee who built BU over the last several decades to prevail, or are the views of Marxist radicals from somewhere else who just want to take over another institution of higher learning to prevail? As I said, NOW is a time of GREAT MOMENT for Belmont University.

    1. Join A

      Exactly correct, Mr. Bumpus! If a student or an employee is unhappy with the university , they should leave and find a place of their liking. It is especially important that a religious school firmly stick to their core values and not swing with the popular wind.

      1. 83ragtop50

        They are no longer a religious school. They broke ties a few years ago. They are just another secular den of liberals.

        1. 83ragtop50

          Baylor in Waco, Texas went down this path 20 or so years ago. It is a sad thing to watch.