UCLA officials said they will live-stream Hillary Clinton’s upcoming UCLA lecture for 1,200 people after students expressed frustration over how tickets to the event were distributed.
This week, students demanded UCLA change the venue of Hillary Clinton’s upcoming lecture at UCLA to accommodate more students. Many students said they were frustrated after a mob broke out at the Central Ticket Office Wednesday morning before 413 free student tickets were set to be distributed. After the disorder, officials distributed tickets based on a lottery system instead of a first-come, first-served basis as originally planned.
More than 700 students have signed a petition calling for the lecture’s organizers to either give out more student tickets or change to a larger venue from the currently planned Royce Hall.
“If it’s an event on a college campus, it should be for college students, but we feel left out and disrespected by the way things were handled,” said Luke Haeger, a first-year fine arts student who started the petition Thursday.
Royce Hall, which can seat 1,836 people, is the largest indoor venue at UCLA after Pauley Pavilion, which can seat about 13,800 people. Clinton’s event will be held at Royce Hall because Pauley Pavilion is not suited to house a lecture, said Jean-Paul Renaud, spokesman for the College of Letters and Sciences, which is organizing Clinton’s lecture.
“Students are asking for bigger venues so that more students have the opportunity to listen to the lecture, and we hope the live-stream room is exactly an answer to that,” Renaud said.
Organizers said they had been planning the live-stream room from the beginning and had already secured Ackerman Grand Ballroom for the event, but were waiting for approval from Hillary Clinton’s management before announcing the arrangement.
All students who received a lottery ticket after waiting in line Wednesday morning but did not get one of free student tickets will be invited to the event through email, Renaud said.
More than 1,600 students participated in the lottery and about 1,200 did not receive tickets. Renaud said UCLA officials will meet Monday morning to decide how the rest of the live-stream event spots will be distributed.
“We’ll make sure that all students who expressed interest in attending will be able to enjoy the lecture, be it at Royce or live-stream,” Renaud said.
Some students said they find the live-stream a poor substitute for watching Hillary Clinton in person.
“Live-streams are just like (glorified) videos, which we can watch on YouTube anytime,” Haeger said. “The experience of witnessing someone speak in person is something that I can’t even put into words, and that is what I’m advocating for.”
Clinton’s lecture is part of a series of high-profile public lectures sponsored by Meyer and Renee Luskin of the Luskin School of Public Affairs, held to fundraise for the university. UCLA offered free tickets for students but others are priced at $500 and $250 for the public, and $100 for faculty.
UCLA hopes to raise between $25,000 and $50,000, subject to ticket sales, and proceeds will go to the College’s Greatest Needs fund, which aims to help students and faculty through scholarships, research funds and other initiatives in the College of Letters and Science, Renaud said.
UCLA has always offered a certain number of free student tickets to the lecture series as part of the school’s mission to help students discover their passions by hearing from world leaders, Renaud said.
Haeger, however, said part of his frustration stems from how the school events seemed to be geared toward external donors when students should be the priority.
“Students have the most to gain and usually most interest in such lectures, but it looks almost like a campaign event for Hillary where the only people who can afford to attend are those already donating to the campaign,” Haeger said.
The Central Ticket Office said it does not make decisions regarding ticket distribution and only follows orders from the organizers of each ticketed event.
Casey Leonard, who had been one of the first in line on Wednesday but wound up without a ticket, said the live-stream comes as great news but does not make up for how tickets were distributed Wednesday.
The lecture will be held on Mar. 5, 12:30 p.m. at Royce Hall.