Graduation ticket shortage, scalping call for revamping of distribution

The Geneseo administration has formally addressed the issue of students selling their graduation tickets to other students in an email from Interim President Carol Long on April 7. The email stated that tickets to the graduation ceremony are the property of the college, and therefore, it is illegal for students to sell them. In the email, Long encouraged students who have tickets they will not be using to give them to classmates who need them, “in the spirit of Geneseo’s values of community and integrity.”

Each student who will be participating in commencement is allotted four tickets for the event. The college intends for graduates to give these tickets to people they want to be present at the ceremony.

Commencement activities will be held on May 17 in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena. The arena’s size allows only enough room for each graduate to have four guests. Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio said that every year students hope to acquire extra tickets to the ceremony.

Andrea Klein, director of campus scheduling and special events, said that the school has been somewhat aware that students sell their commencement tickets to other students. She explained that the scope of the practice became evident this year, when the college received many complaints about the issue.

Klein said that she received many calls from parents “who can’t believe that their son or daughter would have to buy a ticket to get a family member into the ceremony.”

Senior Katie Becker, Student Association president, said she thought it was unfortunate that people would try to profit from the graduation ceremony.

“People are taking advantage of students’ desires to have their complete network of family and friends at graduation,” she said.

Sancilio said he believes that the tickets are being sold between friends and through a Facebook group called “Graduation Tickets-May 2014.” The group has almost 250 members and features posts from individuals both looking for and offering tickets.

Starting next year, an online system will be used for commencement ticket distribution.  The system will offer the option for students to donate tickets that they don’t need to a pool of extra tickets. Students who need extra will then have access to these tickets.

“The solution doesn’t exist right now with people inside [the arena] because we have a finite amount of seats, and that’s the bottom line,” Klein said. “We can only by law and for safety reasons put so many humans in the ice arena.”

Sancilio and Klein both mentioned that, when the college stadium is completed after 2015, the graduation ceremony could take place there. The stadium would seat significantly more people than the ice rink.

Both Sancilio and Klein noted Geneseo’s pillars of community and integrity as reasons students should not sell their tickets.

“Geneseo is a community. We share with one another; we take care of one another,” Sancilio said. “If someone needs a ticket, wouldn’t it be nicer just to give them a ticket?”