Pushing tickets

MAB should be commended for recent success, but now must confront the challenges that come with it.

Last week, the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced their Summer Breeze lineup: Flying Lotus, Pusha T, Baauer, and Jeremih. That Wednesday, MAB, for the third time this year, sold out in one day—2250 tickets in four hours. As MAB wraps up with their last and largest event of the year, they should be commended for organizing a series of shows that have drummed up significant student interest and excitement. Considering the Board’s restrictions, including those related to finances and scheduling, it is particularly impressive that they’ll be bringing four well-anticipated artists to campus this spring. But the heightened student demand for this year’s show has led to unintended consequences, including an increase in scalping. In an email to the Editorial Board, MAB Chair Jack Friedman said: “For the upcoming Fall Show, the 2014-2015 board and ORCSA will consider options to alleviate long lines and prevent scalping of tickets…any changes to ticketing policies will be announced in the fall.” The Editorial Board hopes that demand remains high in the coming years, but if that is to be the case, MAB must act in concrete ways to address current flaws in their ticket sales system.

The current system left students standing outside in Hutchinson Courtyard in long lines for up to four hours last Wednesday while it was cold and rainy and many students had class. The system is unnecessarily inefficient, and many students simply cannot stand in line long enough to buy their own ticket. MAB’s policy of selling four tickets per student attempts to resolve this, but also opens the door to scalpers. Indeed, scalping has become such a significant problem this year that MAB denounced scalpers in a Facebook post last Friday. But if this problem is to be resolved, MAB must do more than “strongly discourage the practice, and…expect everyone to hold others to the same standard.”

One option for MAB to effectively address this concern is to adopt the Council on University Programming’s (COUP) Fall Formal ticket sale system, in which tickets are restricted to two per student. All tickets are given an ID number and linked to the name of the purchaser, and resales are conducted exclusively through COUP at list price. While this framework is not perfect, it is already in use on campus and would be relatively feasible to put in place if a better solution cannot be established. Ideally, though, the Editorial Board encourages MAB to move toward online ticket sales to eliminate the inconvenience of waiting in line, in conjunction with putting a tighter cap on the number of tickets each student is allowed to purchase.

As Summer Breeze expands and student interest and therefore ticket demand increases, MAB should look to other universities’ event policies in modeling their own. Both Cornell’s Slope Day and Princeton’s Lawnparties are quite different from Summer Breeze in that they have space for all undergraduates with an ID—not a feasible policy for MAB as of now—but their policies for guest tickets are potential models. Undergraduates buy tickets for guests (which are in limited supply) online. At Cornell, students are limited to two guest tickets; at Princeton, one.

Accompanying MAB’s more popular programming is a heightened responsibility to ensure the fair and convenient accessibility of their events for all students, especially considering that Summer Breeze tickets are in part subsidized by the Student Life Fee. It is unfair that students who equally subsidize tickets have unequal opportunities to obtain them. As MAB has acknowledged, it is their responsibility to solve this problem.

The Editorial Board consists of the Viewpoints Editors and the Editorial Staff.