A university in the UK is under fire for wasting funds on a statue of Greta Thunberg. Winchester University in Britain is set to unveil a bronze statue of Thunberg to the tune of over $32,000. Despite laying off approximately 10% of its staff and cutting crucial library services, the university is moving forward with this wasteful spending on a person who is not even associated with the school.
Groups Decry Unveiling the Statue
The Student Union (SU) and the University College Union (UCU) have both lodged complaints about the statue. In the official statement regarding the issues, the SU pointed to the ongoing mental health crisis at the school and the need for more student services. The SU said the statue does not align with what the school should be prioritizing for its students.
The UCU also chimed in, calling the statue a “vanity project” for Joy Carter, the former vice-chancellor who recently retired. Like the SU, the UCU also pointed toward the job cuts and increased workloads as reasons to tighten the budget instead of spending on frivolous additions to the campus.
While the statue was commissioned in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a host of budgeting issues at Winchester University since that time.
School Defends Statue
The school continues to defend the decision to unveil the statue, calling it “an inspiration for all students.” Carter said that the statue was designed to encourage students to make a difference in the world. Thunberg jumped onto the world stage in recent years for continuing to warn about what she says is an impending climate crisis.