Uni splashes £83k of alumni cash on a decorative rock

Stone Attack
Angry students ask “why didn’t you spend the money on us?”

A giant rock erected on campus has been branded an “obscene waste” after details of its cost were uncovered by York Vision.

University alumni and donors spared no expense in commissioning and creating the ‘Singing Stone’ sculpture, which costed over £83,000.

This included the cost of transporting the rock from Cornwall, all the way to its current location close to the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall.

The bill for the stone’s unveiling was met by the university to the tune of £608, covering the cost of gold foil fabric and plaques.

The figures came to light following an investigation made by York Vision under the Freedom of Information Act.

Second-year student Lauren Malcharek said: “This is an obscene waste of money for something that will only impact on a minority of people.

“The university should be spending money on things that affect daily student life.”

However, the university registrar and secretary David Duncan defended the lavish spending, saying: “We want to make the York campus as attractive as possible.

“One aspect of this is to site pieces of sculpture at key locations.

“According to your email, external sponsors have contributed £83,390 to ensure that the Singing Stones sculpture finds a permanent home at York.

“Under the circumstances, the University’s contribution of £608 is a wise investment.

“I hope that this work of art proves stimulating to students, staff and visitors for many years to come.”

YUSU President Ben Leatham said: “University of York alumni donated over £80,000 into the creation of the sculpture.

“Organising an unveiling that met the expectations of those alumni was very important. Having said that, £608 is a lot of money.

“It is hugely important that the University keeps unnecessary spending to an absolute minimum.”

Unveiled on June 13, the original sculpture was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Department of Music.

Twitter: @TButlerRoberts

6 Comments

  1. V
    29 September 2015 - 20:06 GMT

    Very phallic.

  2. David Landon Cole
    30 September 2015 - 18:55 GMT

    I actually think that beautifying the campus is a perfectly reasonable thing to spend money on, particularly as it was funded by alumni, who presumably knew where their money was going. I noticed the sculpture a while back and I think it’s rather attractive, though I’m not sure that it’s sited in the best possible place; the buildings that form a backdrop aren’t lovely. Down by the water would have been nicer.

  3. SAM HICKFORD
    01 October 2015 - 11:59 GMT

    It is a very nice Yeats poem.

  4. The Bishop of Heslington
    03 October 2015 - 20:32 GMT

    This is worryingly like the famous “Ed Stone”… which moronic university executive shall I have to give last rites to for this?

  5. Confused Graduate
    08 October 2015 - 11:22 GMT

    Is this what journalism at York Vision amounts to these days?

    Putting in FoI requests to find out every last detail of university expenditure and then asking an ‘outraged’ undergrad for a one sentence comment?

    As the article itself states, the only funding that didn’t come directly from ‘external sponsors’ was the 600 quid the uni used to unveil it.

    If campus was a dark, dreary, unattractive place and the uni only ever spent money on things that were absolutely necessary from a strictly academic point of view, you’d moan about that too. It should be both, not one or the other.

  6. AntiPoorJournalism
    28 October 2015 - 01:24 GMT

    How about you do your research properly Vision?

    Former Chancellor Dame Janet Baker was left money in a will by a friend under the orders to spend it on a sculpture to commemorate her time at York. It was someone’s dying wish.

    As the Uni said, they spent £608 on it. It has nothing to do with them.

    As someone who was involved in the day I expect a personal reply and the article to be amended with the correct information. Perhaps you could contact the alumni department who will tell you. Then you can contact Janet and the solicitor of her dying friend as to why they didn’t spend the money on something you think is better.

    Ridiculous journalism.

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