Spring Fling is one of, if not the most, anticipated Student Association (SA)-sponsored events on campus every spring semester. Annually, the SA hosts a myriad of activities from carnival food to rides to a free concert at the day’s end. While this year’s Spring Fling remained a success for all involved, there’s one issue that took away from many students’ ability to enjoy the day: the ticket line.
Lines are to be expected, especially when free things are being distributed. The problem is that the ticket line for Playboi Carti’s concert was obtrusive, destructive and, most importantly, a serious hazard.
On Thursday night, the Student Association Planning Board (SAPB) decided it was best to relocate the concert indoors because of impending weather and sent an email to all BU students with a link to reserve tickets online. The link went live at 9:30 p.m., three hours after the email was sent, allowing students to reserve more than one ticket if they so desired. An easy solution to a simple problem.
With the possibility of rain, it isn’t exactly a surprise that the main concert would be moved indoors. This happened at Spring Fling two years ago, when students stormed the West Gym to see Mac Miller perform — a serious hazard that warranted better crowd-control policies. But despite multiple examples of the need for a rainy weather backup plan, the line for this year’s Playboi Carti concert demonstrated that the SA has not learned from their past mistakes.
Despite the ease that could have been provided with digital tickets, the SA directed students to pick up physical copies from the SA Ink office during Spring Fling — located in the already stuffy University Union basement. It began as a small trickle — a quick in-and-out. But as the day went on, the line devolved into something between disorder and chaos. Within two hours, the line stretched as far back as the Fleishman Center and necessitated both a physical barricade and the presence of three Binghamton’s New York State University Police (UPD) officers to maintain the semblance of organization. Students who did not get their ticket early into Spring Fling were subjected to crowding, high temperatures and humidity, and a wait that was well over an hour. For many students, this stole a great deal of time away from the Spring Fling that they’d normally have many hours to enjoy. Some even took advantage of that wait time, selling tickets for $30 and higher to people who wanted to go to the concert, but couldn’t or wouldn’t stand in line to do so. It’s hard to argue nothing went wrong if free tickets can be sold so easily.
The line also became a serious obstacle to organizations whose offices line that very hallway. Students heading to the mailroom and members of WHRW 90.5 FM, Free Press, the Binghamton Review, PULSE and Pipe Dream were all blocked from accessing their offices by a considerable number of bodies — a problem when organizations are trying to pick up and drop off supplies for tabling. The line’s effect didn’t stop after it was gone, either. Bulletin boards were damaged and trash and spilled liquids left the hallway in dismal condition.
In addition, the line posed a safety hazard to students. If someone in the line had a medical emergency, it would have been extremely difficult for first responders to get to them and give them adequate medical attention. If a fire alarm had gone off, the already disorganized line would be transformed into a slow-moving stampede out of the building, risking someone getting injured.
All of this leads the Editorial Board to ask: Why could the tickets not have been digital? Why could the distribution of tickets not take place outside? Why did UPD show up after the line became hectic and uncontrolled, and weren’t notified in advance about the need for crowd-control services by the SA? There are too many questions and not enough answers. Multiple SA officers did not respond to requests for comment, and Michelle Dao, executive vice president of the SA, refused to answer any questions about the situation or the SA’s considerations when planning ticket pickup.
The Editorial Board would like to recognize the efforts of the SA in creating a needed day of fun and relaxation, as well as UPD’s contribution to maintaining order where order was not had. Nevertheless, there is always room to improve, and when it comes to the safety of BU students, this improvement cannot wait. We’ve seen what ill-planned crowd control has done before — let’s do better for the next Spring Fling. Students deserve it.