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Outrage over huge screen with Coca Cola and Prada ads

A bright LED-screen at one end of the buildings at the Faculty of Humanities is the cause of anger and, for some, amusement among students and staff. Apparently the buildings' owners, the Danish Building & Property Agency are testing an art installation

Students and staff at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) have the past days been blitzed by a large and bright LED billboard-like screen running commercials from large international companies like Coca Cola, Prada and BMW at the end of a building at campus.

The bright light has blinded students who are studying for their exams at the faculty library at the opposite side of the square by the main entrance at KUA2.

It has also caused outrage among some students and staff who don’t want the University to be associated with big business.

A place for concentration

Lene Fagerlund Larsen, a student of history finds it inappropriate to advertise at the University’s campus.

“It is wrong because this is a place for learning and not for selling the products of big companies. Also the inferno of bright lights disturbs the students studying at the library. I really wonder what the people who put the billboard up there were thinking,” she says.

Jes Fabricius Møller, associate professor at the faculty, was also bothered by the screen when he was at a seminar at the library.

“The light is very bright but I also think it sends a wrong signal because we should protect the University against commercial and political interests,” he says.

Bad timing

According to Julie Sommerlund, associate dean for external relations at the faculty, the timing of running the commercials couldn’t be any worse. It happens while a debate over the government plan to reduce student numbers is running at its highest.
The cutbacks will primarily happen at Humanities, allegedly not job-oriented enough.

According to the faculty management official response on Facebook, the billboard is from the Danish Building & Property Agency, which owns the buildings.

“The only thing we could do was to laugh and ask them to turn off the billboard, but of course we would have preferred to be informed in advance,” Julie Sommerlund says.

Agency express regret

Press officer at The Danish Building & Property Agency, Christian Lietzen, , that the screen is part of an artwork, which was planned some years ago in cooperation with the faculty, and that the company who installed the screen, accidentally tested it with commercials. It was a regrettable mistake and it was stopped as soon as the agency was made aware of these tests.

He explains that the brightness of the LED screen was put on extra high because the screen was being tested.

According to Christian Lietzen the Danish Building & Property Agency will meet with the faculty management Tuesday to, among other things, discuss how the coming art installation can add value to the campus.

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