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31st Mar 2021

Bronze statue of Greta Thunberg unveiled at Winchester university

Charlie Herbert

Update: students still don’t like it

A life-size bronze statue of Greta Thunberg that was commissioned by the University of Winchester for £24,000 has been unveiled at the uni. The statue’s commission by the university – despite staff numbers and student services being cut – angered both the Students Union (SU) and the Winchester University and College Union (UCU).

The UCU had branded the statue, which was commissioned in 2019, a “vanity project” for outgoing Vice-chancellor of the uni, Professor Joy Carter. Meanwhile the SU have called on the university to “match the statue cost by committing £23,760 in additional funding to student support services across the campus.”

SU president Megan Ball had also suggested that the statue unveiling be delayed so that students would be able to be there and “see how their money is being spent.”

But the university have made it clear that “no money was diverted” from other university services in order to fund the statue.

Professor Joy Carter said: “No money was diverted from student support or from staffing to finance the West Downs project. Indeed, the university has spent £5.2m this year on student support.”

An email to students stated that the uni hoped the statue would become a symbol of “commitment to combat the climate and ecological emergency.”

Whilst no one is arguing about the importance and significance of Greta’s work over recent years in prompting conversation and debate over climate change and environmental issues, it’s difficult to see what the point of this statue is.

The university has claimed that it is the world’s first life-sized sculpture of the Swedish environmental activist, which I’m sure will really justify the price tag for students. Particularly at such an easy and calm time for them.