The Faceoff

This Monday, an e-mail was sent to Geneseo students stating that tickets to an $80,000 concert would be given out for free. A wait in line and the quick presentation of a school ID took the place of a $17 charge because of low student demand for Gym Class Heroes concert tickets.

Naturally, the Student Association was hoping to subsidize the costs of the concert with ticket receipts. Clearly, putting on a concert for a mere 400 students would be more of a waste of Student Activity fees than biting the bullet and giving students something to do on a Saturday night.

The surprisingly low turnout at the ticket office up until this Tuesday is accountable for a wide variety of external factors.

The national economy is in a state of distress, making it even harder for already stereotypically poor college students to buy anything other than the staples of Easy Mac and energy drinks. Around a quarter of the campus has already experienced the dreaded swine flu, ever so slightly hindering students' abilities to get out of bed and over to the ticket office.

In addition, unconfirmed rumors about school being cancelled the whole week of Thanksgiving may have caused students to think that they wouldn't have any need to be on campus this weekend. Even more likely, most students had planned on buying their tickets the day before the concert, since procrastination seems to be a popular trend on college campuses.

Whatever the reason, demand was low enough that it made enough sense to give tickets for free, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Even if the concert had sold out, a significant amount of student fees would still have been allotted to covering remaining cost. Now that the concert is free, students on campus gets to enjoy the concert that they essentially already paid for without a cover charge of $17.

Furthermore, the AC survey answered last year by Geneseo students found that Gym Class Heroes were the most desired act for a concert, so it's not like we're getting a concert we don't want for free; we chose it a semester ago.

This Saturday, over a thousand Geneseo students will be handing in their tickets, walking into Kuhl Gymnasium and attending a concert that they wanted to see. The Gym Class Heroes performance this weekend is a free (and alcohol-free) way to stay entertained on a Saturday night when everything else is closed.

Whether or not you love our college as much as Asher Roth does, it must be recognized that making this Saturday's free concert was a wise move, and now we all have something fun to do while waiting out the last few days before break.

The Student Association decided late last week to make the fall concert - Gym Class Heroes featuring Asher Roth - completely "free" to Geneseo students.

What this really translates to is the worst allocation of almost $85,000 of the money that every student is forced to pay in mandatory student activities fees, and it is SA's job of allocating in the "best interests" of us students.

To put things into perspective: the cost of the concert equates to the mandatory fees of approximately 1,000 students.

The reason for making the concert "free" (I hate using that word) was because of the absolutely horrendous ticket sales to date. This exceedingly subpar performance would ultimately translate into dismal attendance at this concert, so SA made the decision to make the concert tickets free, hoping to increase attendance.

This lackluster attendance could have been due to a number of reasons: swine flu, the economy or a culture shift that the school has been experiencing since last year. Regardless, SA has refused to acknowledge that the campus community at large does not desire a very expensive concert. Students are clearly saving their money to spend on things that are of greater interest to them.

The money we could have avoided spending by cancelling the show could have been used for countless different opportunities. Many of these potential opportunities would have been used to subsidize things that students would actually be willing to pay for. Cost of entry without subsidy would be prohibitively high, such as conferences, tournaments or equipment that would provide much more benefit to the students for every dollar spent.

That's not to say that many students will not enjoy the concert; it is after all an Activities Commission production. The additional money that we are losing to make it free could just be more effectively used elsewhere. A person who would only attend an event because it is free would not enjoy an event as much as someone who is willing to contribute some of their own money to attend.

So, if you think that this concert is free for you, let me remind you that it was effectively funded by one-fifth of your $85 mandatory student activity fee, regardless if you attend or not. By deciding to put this concert on, was SA acting in our best interests, or merely trying to cover up a massive mistake?