UK university unveils statue of Greta Thunberg despite public outcry

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Apr 01, 2021, 02.09 PM(IST)

The Greta Thunberg statue on March 31, 2021 in Winchester, England Photograph:( AFP )

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The statue of the Swedish campaigner was installed at the University of Winchester in southern England to reflect its "commitment to sustainability and social justice," the university said in a statement.

The installation of a statue of climate change activist Greta Thunberg at a UK university has sparked a backlash among staff and students who have said the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

The statue of the Swedish campaigner was installed at the University of Winchester in southern England to reflect its "commitment to sustainability and social justice," the university said in a statement.

However, the Winchester branch of the University and College Union (UCU), which represents academic staff, has dismissed the monument as a "vanity project" and criticised its £24,000 (28,000 euro, $33,000) cost amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the UCU said funding for the statue should have been used to prevent cuts to services and redundancies and called decision-making about its installation "opaque".

Thunberg, who began campaigning against climate change in 2018 at the age of 15, has earned Amnesty International's top human rights prize and the Swedish Right Livelihood Award, often presented as an alternative Nobel. In 2019, she was named person of the year by Time magazine.

Winchester Students' Union president Megan Ball told the BBC that students were not questioning Thunberg's contribution as an important campaigner but instead wanted the university to address "critical issues" facing students.

The university's vice-chancellor Professor Joy Carter has, however, emphasised that no funding was diverted from students or staff to pay for the statue.

(with inputs)

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