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CCSC, ABC, SGA Approve Funds For Additional Bacchanal Lawn Tickets

This afternoon, CCSC released a press release stating the council would pay up to $11,164 for 2,000 additional students to attend Bacchanal on top of the original ticket sales earlier this month. This payment would also open the West Lawn and the Butler Lawn to allow for students to stand during the concert. The 2,000 lawn tickets will be distributed for free to students. Last night, ESC also approved their own funds to help pay for the additional tickets.

In addition to the decision to open the lawns, CCSC voted against paying for the refund of the tickets already sold to students as the council found it “fiscally irresponsible.” The other councils, including SGA and ESC, will pay for the refund with the addition of a loan from ABC. Nonetheless, all students who paid for a ticket will be refunded, and they will have the option to keep their ticket or release their ticket for a lawn ticket.

Update, 6:10 pm: ABC has released a statement explaining they will not require Bacchanal to redistribute tickets. Further, ABC will front the Bacchanal committee’s debt incurred this Spring. In exchange for the funds, ABC requires Bacchanal to immediately begin paying off any debt exceeding $30,000 next year. ABC will allow for Bacchanal to pay off the $30,000 over the course of five years. The statement also requires increased communication between ABC and Bacchanal in the future.

Update, March 28, 3:20 pm: Barnard SGA has also voted to contribute funds to the additional security funds and the opening of the lawns, and they released a statement this afternoon detailing their position on this year’s Bacchanal.  They will provide a total of $12,885.65, in ratio with the funds provided by the other student councils. You can read their full statement after the jump.

CCSC’s Statement:

CCSC VOTES TO FUND OPEN LAWNS AND
2,000 ADDITIONAL TICKETS FOR BACCHANAL

CCSC Will Pay Up to $11,164 to Ensure 2,000 Extra Students Can Attend Bacchanal,
Votes Not to Refund Tickets Already Sold

Last night, the Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) voted to fund opening the West Lawn and the Butler Lawn, allowing 2,000 additional students to attend Bacchanal.

This follows the Bacchanal Committee’s March 8th Announcement that only 4,000 tickets would be available for this years Bacchanal Concert, and that students would be charged $7.00 to attend. The attendance cap, combined with the ticket price, left many students feeling unfairly excluded from our largest community event. Over Spring Break, CCSC Representatives, along with Senate partners, the other undergraduate student councils, and the Activities Board at Columbia worked with Student Engagement, Facilities, and the Bacchanal Committee to allow additional students to attend the concert by opening West Lawn and the Butler Lawn. This will allow 2,000 Lawn Tickets to be distributed free of charge, along with roughly 300 tickets retained by the Bacchanal Committee in the main audience area, allowing up to 6,000 students to attend.

After careful deliberation, CCSC decided by a majority vote agreed to pay to open the lawns “in ratio” (22 for, 3 against, 0 abstaining). This means that CCSC will fund some of the associated costs in proportion to the relative population of CC to the other undergraduate schools. This funding procedure is standard for events funded by the four undergraduate councils. Given an estimated maximum cost of $25,000 to open the lawns, CCSC will be paying up to $11,164.19; the remainder will be funded by other councils and a loan provided to Bacchanal by ABC. CCSC also voted not to pay for tickets that have already been sold to be refunded (9 for, 16 against, 0 abstaining).

Tickets that have already been sold will be refunded, but the costs will be financed by the Engineering Student Council, Barnard Student Government Association, and by ABC as a loan. Tickets that have already been sold will not be redistributed. Current ticket holders will have the option to release their ticket for a lawn ticket.

While we consider this a necessary step, we recognize that this plan is costly. Opening the lawns costs an estimated $20,000 — $25,000 for repairs, additional speakers, and added security, leading to a total estimated cost of $160,000 for Bacchanal (151% of the allocation that Bacchanal received from the Activities Board at Columbia. This money is being provided from surplus CCSC funds and will not affect CCSC programming for the remainder of the year. However, our council felt that paying to refund tickets, in addition to the cost of the lawns, would be fiscally irresponsible.

This decision does not constitute an official CCSC endorsement of the circumstances that have necessitated this subsidy, and CCSC will be continuing conversations to keep Bacchanal accessible to all undergraduates in future years. We do not take this decision lightly, and we feel that it is the best option available to Columbia College students at this time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the executive board via email at ccsc@columbia.edu.

Best Regards,
Columbia College Student Council

ABC’s Statement:

ABC PRESS RELEASE REGARDING BACCHANAL

Over the last several weeks, the Activities Board at Columbia (ABC) has been in discussion with
the Bacchanal Committee, the four undergraduate councils, and administrators to work towards making Bacchanal accessible to more students and refunding ticket prices which were not mentioned at the time ABC decided to allocation $106,000 in Student Life Fees to Bacchanal. The following is ABC’s decision regarding Bacchanal this year.

Given that:

1. Bacchanal is refunding all tickets
2. 2300 more tickets are being released free of charge
– 1500 West Lawn tickets
– 500 Butler Lawn tickets
– 300 remaining main area tickets originally set aside for low income students or resulting from improper purchases
3. Councils are providing significant financial support towards security costs and the opening of the lawns
4. The 3,700 people who currently hold tickets have done nothing wrong despite the flawed nature of the ticket sales and their promotions,

ABC will not require Bacchanal to redistribute tickets and will front the debt incurred by Bacchanal through this year’s concert and its increased costs under the following conditions:

1. Any debt covered by ABC exceeding $30,000 will be immediately reclaimed from Bacchanal next year.
2. ABC will start reclaiming the remaining $30,000 debt over a lien of 5 years, at approximately $6,000 a year from Bacchanal.
3. Depending on how large the initial reclamation for amounts exceeding $30,000 is, ABC will determine whether to start the 5-year reclamation next year on top of the immediate reclamation or start it the year after.
4. The Bacchanal Committee must increase and institutionalize frequent communication between the committee and ABC, in additional to improving and reforming internal group functions and approaches to the event.

In terms of being informed of the plan moving forward, what is written above should suffice. But if you would like to know more details on ABC’s decision-making in recent weeks, we have provided a detailed explanation below.

ABC’s original position was to require a refund and a redistribution of tickets, and this had the support of leaders of four undergraduate councils, although it only passed the general bodies of GSSC and SGA. While this wouldn’t have completely solved all the issues that students had regarding the event, our original decision was intended to address what issues we could at the time.

With regards to the refund, we thought that it was inappropriate for the Bacchanal Committee to retain and utilize revenue generated by ticket sales when we had allocated money to them assuming that every student who paid Student Life Fees would be able to attend the event for free. We are aware that the ticket refund is foregone revenue that could be put towards the concert, but as a governing board representing over 170 groups and managing a budget of half a million dollars, we felt that a student group could not be allowed to keep approximately $30,000 in students’ money when those were not the conditions under which they were given an allocation comparable to that of entire governing boards. A helpful legal comparison may be the inadmissibility of wrongly obtained evidence, even though it may help achieve a just conviction.

With regards to the redistribution, we were extremely troubled by the short notice given to students with regards to both the sale and price of the tickets. For example, SEAS students, GS students, and Barnard students did not receive an official email about ticket sales due to their councils’ not receiving a blurb or notification from the Bacchanal Committee. All this happened during the Sunday before midterm week, where many students were preparing for exams and assignments, hindering students’ ability to be notified of and act on the ticket sales.

Furthermore, low-income students were effectively given less than 24 hours to decide if they wanted to commit an unexpected $8 (counting service fees) towards the event. We understand that $8 is not an extremely high amount. But we also understand that there are members in our community who skip meals during Spring Break when dining halls are closed. We understand that some of our colleagues live paycheck to paycheck, which happens to arrive only on Friday. Yes, our fellow students could have stumped up the money, and they could have asked their friends to let them borrow $8 because they did not have enough money in their bank account. But we thought that it was patently unfair that such a burden and a potential source of embarrassment was imposed on members of our community with such little notice, who were then told in less than a day that they were locked out of the biggest community event of the year which they had thought would be free to attend.

For the flaws with the distribution above, we decided that despite the fact that the current ticket holders did nothing wrong, there were still wrongs that needed to be made right. We understood our decision would be unpopular, but the fact of the matter was that many students did not have a fair shot at attending an event they had every right to assume they would be able to attend for free. As a governing charged with directing the allocation of Student Life Fees, we decided to require a redistribution to give everyone a fair chance at attending the event.

However, for all the reasons listed in the beginning of this statement, although we still believe a total redistribution would still be the fairest course of action, we thought that the substantial increase in accessibility was such that we did not need to impose additional stress on thousands of students so that they could get tickets again to attend the event.

If you have kept reading to this point, we thank you for your time. Your willingness to listen to the reasoning behind the difficult decisions we have made in recent weeks means a lot to us. We hope that with the current framework of cooperation between ABC, the Bacchanal Committee, councils, and administrators, we can make this year’s Bacchanal a successful one.

Sincerely,
ABC

SGA’s statement:

Regarding Barnard SGA’s Vote on the March 26th Bacchanal Proposal

Barnard Student Government Association (SGA) has voted to contribute to both the additional security fund and the lawns in ratio with the other councils. SGA will help finance the following in ratio: the historical security fund, the additional security fund, and the lawns.

Previously, SGA had passed a resolution that addressed various concerns that were raised by students surrounding this year’s spring Bacchanal. The resolution urged the Bacchanal Committee to refund and redistribute the 4000 tickets that were sold at a price of $7.00.

Many students raised the concern that they were not adequately notified of the sale time or price of this year’s tickets. In addition, charging $7 per ticket and an additional Eventbrite fee, further limited ticket sales to only those who could afford to buy a ticket or had access to a credit/debit card. While we understand that Bacchanal is a limited entry event, this resolution provided an alternative in the spirit of community and fairness to every student who wished to attend.

After a series of discussions with Columbia Student Engagement, other administrators, representatives from all four councils, the Activities Board at Columbia, and the Bacchanal Committee, a new proposal was introduced on the morning of March 26th. It involved opening the West Lawn and the Butler Lawn for an additional 2,000 tickets. Along with the roughly 300 tickets remaining from the main audience area, this allows up to 6,000 students to attend Bacchanal. We consider this to be a significant improvement. Current ticket holders will be refunded, and will also have the option to release their ticket and attempt to get a lawn ticket. It is not currently expected that students will be able to hold both a standard and a lawn ticket.

However, this plan is expensive. Our current estimates are that the total cost of the Bacchanal event to the student body will be approximately $160,000, which represents 151% of the allocation that Bacchanal received from the Activities Board at Columbia. In particular, it constitutes an additional council subsidy of $54,000 over the original allocation. The total cost of this event, including Bacchanal’s original allocation, the historical security, additional security, and the opening of the lawns, is $15.56 per student regardless of their attendance and not including any additional debt that Bacchanal may carry over from this event to next year.

SGA Representative Council has voted on whether we should furthur fund the Bacchanal committee for their additional security fund and to open up the lawns. With a majority vote, SGA Representative Council has voted to finance the historical security fund, the additional security fund and the lawns in ratio to other three other councils: 4533.84 + 2386.23 + 5965.58 = 12,885.65 dollars.

SGA Representative Council took our decision very seriously. Despite being constrained by time, representatives still managed to hold a series of conversations and discussions to make a decision that would be financially responsible and would benefit Barnard students the most.

This decision does not constitute an official SGA endorsement of the circumstances that have necessitated this subsidy, nor does it imply that SGA will be willing to continue funding Bacchanal at the same level in the future. We were also aware that the timing of the event excludes a large number of students due to religious obligations (both Easter and Passover), and acknowledge this as a major issue. We do not take this decision lightly, and we feel that it is the option that best benefits the Barnard student body under the current circumstances.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to SGA executive board via email at sga@barnard.edu

Best regards,

SGA Executive Board

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6 Comments

  • Yess says:

    @Yess Very glad to see steps taken to overcome Bacchanal’s incompetence.

    When will the next 2,000 tix go on sale?

  • i'm confused says:

    @i'm confused So will Bacchanal ticket holders not be able to go on the lawns? And will lawn ticket holders not be able to go to the steps? Instead of stratifying admission, you should just release 2,000 more tickets, open the lawns, and allow all 6,000 to travel in between the two locations.

  • Scully Kromm says:

    @Scully Kromm Are you not entertained?

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Wait so are the lawns allocated just for students with lawn tickets or are they open to all ticket holders?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thanks for all the information ABC

  • CC'15 says:

    @CC'15 “The statement also requires increased communication between ABC and Bacchanal in the future.”

    Really that’s it? Weak.

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