When Kelley offered a limited number of free admission tickets to Friday’s ceremony in the IU Auditorium, students used online services such as Craigslist and the classified section of IU’s OneStart to sell the free tickets for more than $100 each.
While posts from sellers flooded OneStart’s “tickets & events” tab in classifieds, even more posts were made by students who needed to purchase what was intended to
“We don’t condone anybody trying to sell tickets they received for free,” said Mark Land, associate vice president of university communications. “That’s not the spirit in which the tickets were distributed.”
But following Friday’s commencement, Land said the problem was not as effectual as anticipated.
During the ceremony, Land said approximately 100 seats were left empty. Tickets were issued to anybody who did not already have them for free. IU Auditorium staff arranged standby lines and overflow seating, but neither were needed.
Prior to April 9, students received multiple emails and one physical letter informing them that, for the first time, admission tickets would be required to enter the commencement ceremony.
Land said the tickets were beneficial to the University because they gave organizers an idea of how many individuals planned to attend the event.
With approximately 900 Kelley students walking at the ceremony, Land said the IU Auditorium’s capacity was expected to be reached or exceeded.
Business students were allowed to pick up three free tickets, one student ticket and two guest tickets, at the IU Auditorium between April 9 and 20.
On April 23, the University distributed the remaining tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. That is when the tickets started popping up online for purchase.
Rachel Mauch, who graduated from Kelley with a degree in business economics and public policy, said she was at an interview in Chicago on April 23. She was unable to receive additional tickets. With divorced parents, she said the three tickets she initially received were not enough.
“I called up there multiple times to do whatever I could to reserve just two tickets for my other parents because I was out of town for an interview,” Mauch said. “There was no way I could do that, and by the time I got there on Tuesday morning, they were all sold out.”
Luckily, she said, two of her friends had one spare ticket each, and they gave her the extra tickets she needed.
She said she did not initially think to check online to buy tickets until Kelley Dean Daniel Smith sent an email to students asking them to return extra tickets they were not using.
“Please, if you have extra tickets, I ask that you return them to my office in Suite 3000 of the Graduate Building so we can distribute them to families who need them,” Smith said in the email. “It simply is not right for anyone to profit from tickets that were given to you in the spirit that you would use them for
After receiving the email, Mauch said she placed an ad on OneStart asking to buy a ticket for $35 or less. She received a response, she said, but was told the highest bidder was offering $350 for three tickets.
“For four years in Kelley we’re taught all about obtaining profits,” Mauch said. “It makes sense to me that some students would go and sell their tickets for as much as possible, but it doesn’t seem right to me. It doesn’t seem fair. I wouldn’t do that personally because I’m a student who needed these tickets.”
Although the tickets were offered online with bids asking for hundreds of dollars per ticket, Land said he did not believe there were many buyers.
The commencement ceremony went smoothly, Land said, despite the fact that many students and their families worried they would be unable to attend.
He said the school plans to distribute tickets differently next year. Instead of informing students, he said tickets will be given directly to parents.
“Obviously it’s a big day for the students, but the parents are a lot of times the ones who are really excited about being there for these sorts of things,” Land said. “They are the ones who get really concerned if they find they can’t get in, especially since they are making arrangements to get here.”
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