UCLA’s Campus Events Commission boasted on Facebook on Wednesday morning about how this year’s Bruin Bash ticket sales system would be an improvement from previous years’. Six hours later, it was more than obvious that wouldn’t be the case.
This year, CEC and the Cultural Affairs Commission broke up Bruin Bash ticket sales into two batches based on seating location in Pauley Pavilion. Students could start claiming tickets at 10 a.m. Wednesday on a first-come, first-served basis. Following that, tickets for the remaining 100/200-level seats would be distributed via a lottery system.
To what should have come as no surprise, the ticket system servers crashed following a flood of requests for floor tickets. But instead of reassuring students and clarifying their doubts, CAC misinformed them about whether they even received floor tickets, and CEC told Bruins they needn’t worry about not getting tickets because it was only a “free concert” – except, of course, when you take into account the fees students pay to fund the event.
CEC and CAC’s handling of the ticket system failure is hardly endearing, and if these commissions intend to overcome previous years’ failures in managing the concert, they need to show far more professionalism and organization.
It’s clear CEC and CAC mismanaged the server crash – and Bruin Bash itself – in many ways.
“If you’re freaking out, consider yourself part of a long tradition of scrambling to get Bruin Bash tickets,” CEC wrote on Facebook in an attempt to redeem itself after the crash.
Campus Events Commissioner Nedda Saidian later defended the statement as a reflection of the office being edgy and “evocative” (sic). Left out of their display of edginess: The fact that said tradition is a result of past incompetence in organizing ticket sales.
To the add to confusion, CAC specifically told students that tickets labeled GA referred to floor seats. Cultural Affairs Commissioner Malik Flournoy-Hooker later backtracked on this assertion, admitting GA did not in fact mean floor seats. He added the confusion was due to rumors being spread on social media, but it’s worth noting both CAC and CEC were responsible for the so-called rumors, as confirmed by multiple students.
Perhaps most concerning of all, however, was how CEC and CAC chose to advertise Bruin Bash to students. Besides their Facebook and Twitter feeds, which not every Bruin follows, CEC and CAC only notified students of Bruin Bash through a campus-wide email sent Sept. 13. But students received these emails almost as late as 2:04 p.m. – about 10 minutes after CAC announced floor tickets were sold out. Compare that to last year, when organizers sent out a similar email well before the ticket lottery ended.
Clearly, CEC and CAC have already botched Bruin Bash in multiple ways. If the offices intend to overcome their numerous errors and see the concert through, they need to start taking ownership of their mistakes and prioritizing students’ concerns over humor and public image.
Now, the commissions aren’t entirely to blame for the server crash. UCLA has a role to play in there being enough resources to handle increased network traffic, but CEC’s and CAC’s cavalier attitude toward students’ attempts to get tickets and their dissemination of false information were unprofessional, to say the least.
If organizers don’t know what things mean, they shouldn’t act like they do. If they pretend to know what the names meant, they must take responsibility instead of attributing the misinformation to rumors. And if the servers crash, they shouldn’t try to be edgy.
What we don’t need is for CEC and CAC to collectively shrug at students’ frustrations.