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Don’t let paid wristbands become the norm at publics

By Thresher Editorial Board     8/30/22 10:35pm

Three years ago, in the pre-COVID world, there were only three public parties that charged for admittance. NOD and Y2K needed the money to hire extra security, and Architectronica charged because it wasn’t funded by a college and depended on the money from ticket sales to cover event fees. Now, we fear more colleges will charge for entrance to publics, a poor practice we urge socials to avoid.

Three years later, as publics finally return in full force, seniors who had a taste of the old, free publics find themselves perplexed by the new changes while reminiscing about the lost institutional knowledge of pre-pandemic Rice. But tradition isn’t the only thing that the new “pay for wristband” system is harming. Though $5 and under price tags generally wouldn’t prohibit any student from attending, it has sparked a growing resale market with wristbands being sold for upwards of $20. This resale market especially affects freshmen, who already feel social pressure to fit into college culture and are likely to buy these resale tickets even at an unreasonable price. Further, paying without clear justification to attend a public defeats the purpose of a “public” party.

Despite all of this, buying and securing wristbands doesn’t even guarantee adittance. Tickets are typically oversold, as in the case of Martel College’s public last Saturday, which results in extended lines and destroys the original purpose of charging a fee: limiting capacity. Three years ago, capacity issues solved themselves. With security monitoring the crowd inside, everyone could show up and line up; when the line felt too long, people simply left. Not to mention that most students do not intend on staying at a public from beginning to end. But being required to pay for admission and the extensive process required to secure a wristband might alter that, decreasing the number of overall students who are able to attend at all.

With the university expanding its student population, the issue of limited attendance at popular student events will only become more prevalent. Conversations surrounding how to preserve the old Rice culture and to ensure the same college experience for future Rice students need to be a focus for the administration and individual residential colleges alike.

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Morgan Gage, Ben Baker-Katz, Bonnie Zhao, Hajera Naveed, Nayeli Shad, Riya Misra, Michelle Gachellin, Daniel Schrager, Prayag Gordy and Brandon Chen.

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