SU-turn over Summer Party tickets

Concern amongst students following the early release of tickets for the Graduation Ball and Summer Party has led the Students’ Union (SU) to withdraw tickets from sale.

Tickets initially went on sale in Week 10 of Term 2, on Monday 5 March, and were available for approximately 24 hours before the decision was made to postpone all further sales until the beginning of Term 3.

In an online statement, the SU said the decision to move sales forward this year had been based upon student feedback: “[We] had previously been told that people were having difficulty purchasing them due to the increase in web traffic on the release date. Consequently, we felt it would be better to ease the sales process by having them go on sale further in advance and thus giving people much longer to buy them.”

Not all students were satisfied with the change however, with some logging onto the Warwick SU Facebook page to voice their concerns.

One student commented: “Whilst I understand that you had to publicise the event in advance, making ticket sales live in week 10 has meant that I, as well as many others, don’t have the money to buy a ticket. I am therefore faced with the prospect of missing my own graduation ball which is pretty upsetting.”

Others requested further details regarding how the ticket prices would be utilised. Graduation Ball and Summer Party tickets are separately priced at £68 and £38, respectively, and are also offered as a Combination Ticket for £90.

Union Development Officer George Whitworth confirmed that there had been “a handful of complaints, formal and informal, which led to us making the decision to take them off sale.”

Whitworth went on to verify that there were two key factors involved in the SU’s decision to re-launch ticket sales at a later date: “The first was that some people told us that they didn’t have cash available to purchase the ticket and were worried they would miss the chance. The second is that there was misunderstanding about the event and it was obvious there should have been better communications before launching the tickets to mitigate this.”

The SU believes it acted quickly to resolve the situation following the responses it received.

Only 50 of a possible 600 Combination tickets were sold during the first period they were available, 8.3% of the total. The Union’s expectation is to sell 1200 Graduation Ball tickets altogether – including the Combination tickets.

In addition, tickets will now become available again in Week 1 of Term 3, when the arrival of student loans will make purchases easier for many students. The change also coincides with the release of full line-up details for both events.

The decision to close sales temporarily has been generally well received. Ollie Charles Coleman, a third-year Film and Television studies student, stated: “I assume that SU have their reasons for doing what they did, they have explained online what has been going on.”

Others students believe the situation was not dealt with as effectively as possible, though. James Chapman, a third-year History student, said: “Surely a compromise could have been reached by selling a percentage of the tickets early, which wouldn’t have effected those who couldn’t afford it. I suspect that they would have done this had they not messed the theme up.”

The choice of theme for this year’s Graduation Ball was described by Whitworth as “one of the misunderstandings that people had”. A poll has been posted on Facebook in order for people to provide input prior to the ticket re-launch. At present 32 have voted in favour of keeping the Medieval theme, whereas 184 would prefer a Masquerade-themed Ball. Mr Whitworth made it clear that all views would be taken into account: “Announcements on the theme will be made as we approach the re-launch date for the tickets…we want the event to be the one that people want.”

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