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In the midst of a media rage against taxpayer-paid smoking booths for Danish politicians, new expensive ashtrays have been installed at the University of Copenhagen more or less unnoticed
At one of the oldest sites of the University of Copenhagen, nine ashtrays, specially designed, have been set up in the yard behind Nørregade 10. Shiny and expensive-looking, the copper ashtrays will be used by the UCPH administration that resides at City Campus.
According to information released to the University Post, the ashtrays cost DKK 3,200 adding up to a total of DKK 28,800. The investment in ashtrays comes in the midst of a media rage against taxpayer-paid smoking booths for Danish politicians at the Danish parliament.
»The ashtrays were originally designed for the Faculty of Life Sciences a couple of years ago. They match other designs made for the university such as outdoor lamps, garbage cans, and signs. The old ashtrays were clay pots filled with sand,« project manager and architect at Campus Service, Annette Fischer, tells the University Post.
In connection with a previous article on theft of designer furniture from City Campus, the University Post asked readers whether publicly-funded institutions ought to be in possession of large assets of design when taxpayers, as well as staff and students at universities, face cuts.
Read the article Fancy designer furniture stolen from uni.
Half of the readers ticked the option in this poll saying that expensive furniture belonging to the university should be auctioned away and the funds used to pay for teaching and staff instead.
This withstanding, Erwin Koster Kristensen, the manager of Campus Service City, explains to the University Post that the University of Copenhagen also has an obligation to its heritage: »Inventory may be expensive to buy, but we are obliged to preserve these old buildings of City Campus in a decent manner. The inventory we replace or install both inside and outside the buildings should be timeless and of a good quality«.
The funding to buy the expensive ashtrays comes from a specific account called ‘FA brugerønsker’ – roughly translated as the UCPH’s administration’s user wishes. According to Annette Fischer, this account has approximately DKK 1.5 million to spend every year.
‘FA brugerønsker’ does not include maintenance or renovation of buildings at City Campus. Expenses for this is covered in another budget. According to manager Erwin Koster Kristensen the money is set aside for smaller replacements that accumulate each year. »After all, KU is still not CBS,« he jokes.
CBS (Copenhagen Business School) is widely perceived to be extravagant and ‘well-designed’.
Project manager and architect at Campus Service, Annette Fischer concludes: »If the ashtrays are to be set up at other places at the University of Copenhagen we definitely need them at a cheaper price«.
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