By now, everyone at the 5Cs and their mother knows that Taylor Swift performed on Pomona College’s campus Monday night. Those of us who were lucky enough to get a ticket know how awesome her performance was. Those of us who didn’t get a chance and really wished to go will get to experience it on television on Nov. 11.
As a Pomona student, I feel that tickets to the performance were distributed in a flawed and unfair manner. An e-mail was sent out two weeks ago notifying Pomona students that the college had received 200 tickets and would be distributing them by lottery. Pomona College forbade students to sell tickets they won from this lottery.
According to the college’s rule, the lottery would offer everyone an equal chance to get a ticket. Well, not quite. In blatant violation of the school’s rules, some students who did not want to attend the concert but were looking to make a profit took the opportunity to exploit their peers. People who never listen to Swift’s music entered into the lottery to get a ticket. If they were lucky enough, it was business time for them. They didn’t have to do much to sell their tickets because of the large number of Swift fans who were willing to pay to go see her perform when they should have gotten a ticket for free in the first place.
This profit-driven scheme offends me for a few reasons. First, the school received these tickets and distributed them to students for free. Money never should have been involved. The free nature of these tickets allowed all students an equal chance to obtain one—both students who could and could not afford to spend money on concert tickets.
Second, this monetary exchange in a small community, among friends and peers, is awkward and immoral. We all won this concert together. This abuse of the ticket distribution system does not align with my expectations of a close-knit community.
Are we really willing to sacrifice friendships and bonds over a couple of dollars? When you think about it, we’re making money off of our friends’ backs. I am frustrated by the deluge of posts on the Class of 2016 Facebook group advertising tickets for sale, and I can’t help but feel bad for everyone else, especially true Taylor Swift fans, who didn’t win tickets or couldn’t afford to purchase them.
America is a capitalist nation, but on our college campuses, we are fortunate enough to be removed from many of the real world’s capitalist standards. The sale of Taylor Swift tickets turned our community into an arena for commerce. Let’s reexamine ourselves and ask if what we’re doing is socially acceptable in this college environment.
I believe these tickets could have been distributed in a more equitable manner, perhaps through the ASPC office in the way that PEC and 47 Things ticket sales are conducted—first come, first served. The concert is behind us. (If you actually went to the concert, I hope you enjoyed it.) However, the principles of community and equality that the event challenged are still before us. Swift’s performance will not be the last opportunity for students to glean a profit. Just because we can does not always mean we should.
Moving forward, I encourage students to be more respectful of college policy, more considerate of our peers and more thoughtful about our campus values in general.