Grad Ball Ticket Disaster Leaves Final-Year Students Furious


The incompetent management of this year’s Graduate Ball ticket sales has left many final-year Southampton students disappointed. With the ball being spread over the course of two nights, students were already pressured to co-ordinate their ticket-buying with friends, and doubts as to whether there would be enough tickets to go around were raised.

With only 300 dining tickets available for each night, only those who began queuing before 6.30am on Monday for the Box Office (which opened at 10am) were successful in securing dining tickets for the Ball on the first night (Wednesday 9th June). This left students who had queued for over six hours devastated that they would not be celebrating with their friends, and annoyed that the attainment of tickets had become so competitive. With only one cashier on hand to sell tickets to the hundreds who turned up to buy tickets in the student union, the queue was extremely slow moving, adding hours more onto waiting times.

Further trouble occurred when the box office began selling non-dining tickets to those who had queued, despite it being advertised that these would only be available online at 5pm later that day. When the remaining tickets did go online at 5pm, the predictably huge demand overloaded the university system, causing the site to crash.

Many students have been left upset that they have had to fight so hard to obtain a ticket to their graduation ball, especially as very few details have so far been released about the event. It was also widely considered to be unfair that each graduate could invite up to 3 guests, despite the apparent short supply. Some students have set up a Facebook group encouraging others to complain to the university, found here.

The union has since apologised via email for the mistakes.The organisation of last year’s graduate ball was criticised, as only a handful of toilets were made available at the event at which thousands were present.

Did you find the Grad Ball ticket process unfair, or did you end up with the tickets you wanted? Share your opinions and stories in the comments box below. We will also be exploring this issue further in the next issue of the Wessex Scene.


Discussion5 Comments

  1. avatar

    Well done Union – how much time, effort and money went into last nights election results? And yet you are totally unable to sell some tickets for, what is to some people, a very important part of thei university experience.

    Great priorities.

    Yours sarcastically,


  2. avatar

    I think what I find amazing is that there are loads of external companies out there for selling tickets online. SUSU could have quite happily done that, and it would have been guaranteed to cope with the demand.

  3. avatar

    Why was there such a demand for Wednesday? I queued from 8.30 and yes it was a long time but I did manage to get 4 Thursday dining tickets, is there something wrong with Thursday I don’t know about?

    I would not count myself as part of the “widely considered to be unfair” group, a lot of people were not inviting 3 guests, it was mostly people ordering 4 tickets for the 4 people in the queue so they could rotate and allow each other to get food, go to the toilet etc.

  4. avatar

    I still don’t know how many tickets I have actually purchased, although the money has gone out of my bank account I am lacking receipts or acknowledgment on my SUSU Box Office account. I had to purchase my tickets separately which meant opening up several different browser windows at the same time to make sure they all got through to the checkout because the website crashed every time I had to refresh the page and then just refused to load altogether! You would think that after many years organising similar events the Union would have a better system that does not pit student against student, the Grad Ball is supposed to be a time to celebrate the end of three years hard work with your friends and instead it has been turned into money making exercise with little regard for how important it is to final year students.

  5. avatar

    Everyone I know is outraged at the inefficiency of SUSU to organise the Grad Ball, whether they recieved tickets or not: those who recieved tickets have had some refunded, or have friends who couldn’t get some, those who couldn’t get them tried for hours and still failed.
    The response by SUSU was polite but only explained what we already knew: the system couldn’t cope with the demand of everyone buying tickets online at once. It solved nothing and we are all disappointed with SUSU yet again.

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