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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: ASUA vainglorious venture the result of arrogance

    By any standards, the much-anticipated Last Smash Platinum Bash was a resounding failure. It ought to put to rest any remaining suspicions we might have that our student leaders know what they’re doing.

    When the Associated Students of the

    University of Arizona announced the lineup in late March, they insisted that the concert would more than pay for itself. They were so certain their coffers would be overflowing with the fruits of ticket and merchandise sales that they promised to use all the additional revenue for scholarships.

    Tuesday’s news brought that tender notion crashing to earth. The show brought in only $500,000 – not even enough to cover the $750,000 pocketed by headliner Jay-Z. All told, the concert lost our student government more than $900,000. They’ve emptied their emergency funding to help pay for part of it, and they’ll be paying the rest off – through a deal with the UofA BookStore -ÿover the next five years.

    According to outgoing ASUA president Tommy Bruce, the original plan was to sell 30,000 tickets, an estimate that had simmered down to 17,000 by March. The final sales totaled a mere 6,100.

    That’s not counting the 5,000 tickets that were given away. That is not the least outrageous fact about this venture. A thousand students got into the show free after showing their ability to sing a Kelly Clarkson song on the Mall that day. That’s a slap in the face to the thousands of students who ponied up their savings to see Jay-Z, some of whom paid as much as $200.

    It’s also bad planning. Even asking a token $2 for those tickets would have netted ASUA an extra $10,000 – nothing to sneeze at when you’re facing the prospect of low ticket sales.

    Bruce insisted that the concert was still a success, and blamed the low turnout on the economy. “”Nobody predicted the economy would be the way it is now last May,”” he said.

    Even if we accept that excuse, that doesn’t explain why 5,000 tickets were given away. Presumably even ASUA had figured out the state of the economy by the day of the concert. Did they really not anticipate that they might not sell 17,000 tickets?

    Besides, there’s no reason to accept that excuse. There were plenty of people in May predicting that an economic slide was coming, but they didn’t get any say in the matter. No one else did, either, since ASUA kept a lid on the event’s specifics until little more than a month before it happened.

    What happened here is simple: ASUA, led by the usual cabal of hard-working, popular, go-getter students, always and forever spouting their trademark brand of blind optimism and specious good cheer, marched straight into the waiting jaws of financial disaster.

    ASUA’s new president, Chris Nagata, has hinted that he will bring a more fiscally responsible attitude to the task of helming the student government. He doesn’t have much of a choice. This vainglorious venture has spelled the end of ambitious student government projects for the next five years.

    -ÿEditorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Laura Donovan, Daniel Greenberg, Taylor Kessinger, and Heather Price-Wright.

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