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Y2K sets dangerous precedent

By Thresher Editorial Board     2/4/20 9:17pm

Saturday night, hundreds of Rice students paid $2 to stand in line for one of the most popular publics of the year, Y2K, with some waiting over two hours only to not get in. Despite claiming that they based the number of wristband sales on statistical “models” that would allow entry to everyone, McMurtry College refused to release this data publicly, leaving the logic and intent behind this new system unclear. Additionally, the conflicting explanations given by various McMurtry student leaders have muddled the situation rather than clarified it. 

After last year’s crowded line fiasco, it makes sense that this year’s socials decided to sell a limited amount of wristbands to ensure a smooth entry process while respecting the limitations of the space. However, by not limiting wristband sales to a reasonable amount, the socials were not only unable to fix the issue but also effectively took hundreds of dollars from students who were still denied entry. Simply distributing a controlled number of free wristbands, as suggested by McMurtry student leaders after last year’s fiasco, would have had the same effect of limiting entry without risking the shameful result that transpired. Furthermore, purchasing a ticket simply for a spot in line is unprecedented for any Rice public. Purchasing a wristband for Night of Decadence or Architectronica, the only other publics that have charged for entry, has always resulted in guaranteed admission. 

McMurtry social chairs should have clarified what students were paying for and they still need to clarify where that money is now. NOD and Architectronica organizers have publicly discussed their ticket numbers and have provided reasoning for sales: NOD needs higher level security, and Architectronica does not have a budget from the School of Architecture. 

That being said, ticketed publics in general point to a developing issue of selling entry to publics which are supposed to be open to the whole student body. While the $2 price makes Y2K the cheapest ticketed public of the year, it’s a dangerous precedent to set, especially if tickets do not guarantee entry. A widening attendance divide between “good” and “bad” publics should not necessitate ticket sales at the “good” ones. Instead, college governments should work together with the Rice University Police Department to make these events financially accessible — either by subsidizing extra police costs, using quotas or lotteries that don’t require financial buy-in or even encouraging colleges to join together and pool resources for joint publics. With three public parties now charging for tickets, and Y2K ostensibly charging for just a spot in line, it’s time for a conversation about the future of public parties.

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