PICS: £23,000+ Statue of Greta Thunberg Installed at British University, Angering Staff

Greta
Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The University of Winchester has unveiled its almost £24,000 statue of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, angering staff who have faced years of cutbacks.

The £23,760 ($32,700) bronze monument to the teenager, who was elevated to international prominence by global leaders after she began skipping classes at her publicly-funded school on Fridays to protest a perceived lack of action on climate change, was slammed as a “vanity project” by staff at the university.

The Winchester branch of the University and College Union (UCU) said that although it “supports the role that Thunberg has played globally… This money should have been better used by preventing redundancies and other cuts at the university” after years of austerity.

 

Greta

A life-sized statue of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is pictured after being unveiled on the campus of the University of Winchester in Winchester, Hampshire on March 31, 2021. – The £24,000 bronze statue which has been created to reflect the university’s values on “sustainability and social justice”, has been branded by Winchester University and College Union (UCU) as a “vanity project”. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Greta

WINCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: General view of the Greta Thunberg statue on March 31, 2021 in Winchester, England. The school’s student union was critical of the money spent on the statue, calling on the university to “match the statue cost by committing £23,760 in additional funding to student support services across campus.” (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

 

“The university’s distinctive approach to commissioning pieces of art is to do so in unminuted meetings and/or avoid any committee scrutiny,” the union added facetiously.

“Not the ideal approach when spending university money.”

The university leadership, for its part, defended its expensive statue. “The university’s approach to art is to commission or purchase unusual and striking pieces which embody our distinctiveness and values,” pronounced Vice-Chancellor Joy Carter, insisting that “Greta is a young woman who, in spite of difficulties in her life, has become a world-leading environmental activist” and, “As the university for sustainability and social justice, we are proud to honour this inspirational woman in this way.”

 

Greta

WINCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: General view of the Greta Thunberg statue on March 31, 2021 in Winchester, England. The school’s student union was critical of the money spent on the statue, calling on the university to “match the statue cost by committing £23,760 in additional funding to student support services across campus.” (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

 

Greta

WINCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: Students look at the Greta Thunberg statue on March 31, 2021 in Winchester, England. The school’s student union was critical of the money spent on the statue, calling on the university to “match the statue cost by committing £23,760 in additional funding to student support services across campus.” (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

 

The controversial move comes at a time when historic statues and memorials to Britain’s monarchs, prime ministers, war heroes, and great merchants and philosophers are being targeted by Black Lives Matter-inspired vandals, activists, and politicians, with some destroyed, some removed, and some “recontextualised” with plaques and information boards denouncing the figures they depict.

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