A second-year student has set up a petition as part of the growing anger about inflating ticket prices for The Mermaids Christmas Ball.
Organised on Change.org, the petition calls upon the University of St Andrews Students’ Association to establish a resale site or app to ensure that tickets are only sold at their face value or less.
It has been alleged that some Christmas Ball tickets are being resold for up to £200, more than 400 per cent of their face value.
Despite sales now being solely online, as opposed to in-person ticket sales like several years ago, they typically sell out within minutes of going live.
Second-year student Harriet Watts Williamson, who launched the petition on Wednesday 14 November when Christmas Ball tickets went on sale, said to The Saint, “I felt inspired to start this petition because I believe that unregulated ticket sales encourage the existing problems of elitism and social inequality at the University of St Andrews.
“In terms of my personal experience – yes, like many others I have tried (and failed) to get hold of resale ball tickets in the past. This time last year, someone tried to charge me £217 for a Christmas Ball ticket. I faced a similar situation with May Ball last year. I come from a background, as many students do, where spending upwards of £200 on a ball ticket is unthinkable.
“However, for me, this whole issue goes beyond ball tickets. I don’t want to live in a community where it is acceptable to indirectly exclude a whole demographic of students based on their financial situation. It is symptomatic of a wider problem in the student body.
“In terms of the petition, my eventual hope is that the Union will create a ticket resale site [or] app similar to FIXR or Twickets in which tickets will be resold for face value or less. The petition has already reached 17 signatures in a day, which is a promising start, and I would like to get significantly more soon. Getting a lot of signatures could help provide leverage on this issue.”
At the time of writing, the petition currently has 36 signatures.
Ms Williamson has also reached out to the Students’ Association Director of Events and Services, Adam Powrie, and the Rector about the issue.
Speaking to The Saint, Mermaids Vice-President Shaina Sullivan said, “Mermaids Performing Arts Fund and the Mermaids Christmas Ball do not condone reselling tickets at increased prices.
”In the past three years we have decreased the number of tickets each individual can purchase from five to three to two to dissuade the purchasing of tickets with the intent to resell them. We have also strived to maintain our £37 ticket price in order to keep the event as financially accessible as possible. As a subcommittee of the Students’ Association, Mermaids follows the Union’s policies regarding ticket sales and will continue to do so.”
Mr Powrie echoed Mermaids’ sentiments and added, “We at the Association are currently reviewing the system for purchasing tickets and will liaise with Sub Committees accordingly to make sure we do what we can to allow for an equal opportunity to attend the events we are involved in throughout the year. As always, the Association welcomes student feedback and we will work hard to ensure that the student voice is heard.”