In the wake of Universal Knights ticket reservation on Mar. 25, Rachel Cohen, the director of campus life, was allowed time to speak on the matter during SGA’s Senate meeting on Mar. 29.
Cohen has worked distribution for Universal Knights for the last two years and was in charge of this year’s new distribution system.
In an attempt to prevent long lines typically associated with reserving tickets, an online system through Ticketmaster was used for the 2018 event. Students could reserve tickets by clicking on a link that directed them to the Universal Knights’ Ticketmaster page, which was sent to their Knights Email account and posted on all of SGA’s social media.
“From hearing from students, this [previous] system had to go because it didn’t accommodate too many students who didn’t have the time to wait for these tickets,” Cohen said.
“5/6th of the student body did not receive a receive a ticket. That is the same amount as last year, and is the same amount that will be… for next year,” Cohen said. “It’s just the way it works with a campus of 66,000 students with 12,000 tickets available, we cannot change the number of tickets available.”
Simone Landry, a 20-year-old physics major at UCF was able to get a ticket under the new system, but said, “…Getting rid of the system we had before took the fun out of ticket distribution.”
“I liked that there were multiple days to choose from, and part of the fun of Universal Knights is waiting in line to get in the arena,” Landry said. “Either goofing off with your friends or working on stuff for class.”
Cohen said that the number of complaints was the exact same as had been received in previous years, but the main difference was that the complaints they received were online rather than in person, and there only seems to be more complaints because of students’ online presence.
Kaitlyn Osorio, a 20-year-old graphic design major at UCF was able to get a ticket under the new system, and said “Every new idea takes time to be executed well.”
“I think this saves students the hassle of waiting in a line outside or waking up extremely early. Although it didn’t work in the first few minutes, it did overall,” Osorio said. “I think some students might have overreacted. We are all still getting the opportunity to attend Universal for free, we can’t complain that much.”
When asked whether any members of the Senate or executive branch of SGA have ever received free fast passes or Universal Knights tickets without going through the same distribution channels as the rest of the student body, Cohen said that fast passes were given as a courtesy to members of the executive branch from Universal, and members of the Senate who volunteered their time to staple tickets to wristbands and at distribution centers were given tickets outside of the standard Ticketmaster distribution.
“When universal Knights were first started, [fast passes] were given as a courtesy for putting on this event, and continue to be given as a courtesy,” Cohen said. “It is in no way paid for, no money was paid for this service and is not in the contract, but rather figured out year-to-year as a courtesy,”
Cohen said that volunteers will be working over 280 hours at distributions, and those SGA officials who volunteer will receive tickets for their service.
Cohen has been reached out to, to clarify how she obtained the figure of 280 hours and will be updated.
Senator Kevin Garcia, the 2nd seat for Rosen College of Hospitality Management, asked whether it was fair that SGA officials were afforded “exclusive opportunities” for receive tickets outside of the typical distribution channels that the rest of the student body used, and whether these opportunities should be opened to the entire student body.
Cohen said that she and other volunteers at a “stapling party” worked two full eight hour days without breaks and that she thought it was fair that she needed help and was able to reach out to others for help.
“In terms of opening it up to the student body, that would be insane. I would get so many students… trying to do this, that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate them in the way we are able to,” Cohen said. “Plus, on top of that, not that I can’t trust everyone in the student body, I need people that I explicitly can, and know aren’t going to pocket any tickets, aren’t going to… give tickets to their friend if they walk in and I’m not in the room. So the only people the link was really opened up to people who were trusted through SGA.” Cohen said.
A public records request has been made to get more clarification on who received fast passes or tickets without relying on Ticketmaster and will be updated accordingly.