Removing Barriers to Entry: How and Why ASCMC Eliminated Paid Ticketing

In working towards the goal of making our college more inclusive, I’m proud to share that the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) will not be selling tickets for any school-wide event in the 2019-2020 academic school year. At the last meeting of the Spring 2019 semester, ASCMC passed a budget that will allow us to provide tickets to students at no personal cost for all school-wide events. At its core, the mission and purpose of ASCMC is to promote a more inclusive on-campus community, and ensuring that the cost of all events is included in the student fee is a necessary component to meeting that end. 

In our most recent budget, we anticipated taking in $0 of revenue from tickets to fund Monte Carlo or Wedding Party; in other words, we do not plan to charge for these events this school year. Previously, ASCMC has charged between $15 and $30 for tickets, making it more difficult for some students, especially low-income students, to attend these events. If we want the social scene at CMC to truly be inclusive, then a crucial step is to fully remove the financial barrier to entry. 

We were able to eliminate paid entry to school-wide events for a few reasons. With the new increase in student fees that was passed last term, we had more room in the budget to maintain similar funding levels for events without having to offset the costs of the events with revenue from charging for tickets. Chandler Koon, Vice President of Student Activities, has been working on innovative ways to reduce the cost of these events to make them more accessible. We will also be asking for financial contributions from the student governments of the other Claremont Colleges, which will allow us to similarly not charge 5C students. To help fill in the budgetary space created by our decision not to ticket events, our Chief Financial Officer, Max Dawson, set up an endowment for ASCMC that will generate profitable returns on our existing savings. This will not only promote the long-term financial stability of the organization, but also allows us more flexibility with our budget. This change was not easily achieved, nor was it done lightly, but was an important step to making our events, and our community, more inclusive. 

We still have further to go in making our events financially inclusive. Events for the Senior Class, such as 200 days, 100 days, and the Las Vegas class trip are unable to be fully offset within our current budget, though they are heavily subsidized from class funds that are allocated within the ASCMC budget. While we have a lot of work to do before we are able to operate fully revenue free, we will make sure to proactively inform students about alternative forms of payment for these events.

Max and I believe it is financially sustainable to fully eliminate ticketing costs for years to come, and it is my hope that this will remain a permanent fixture of the ASCMC budget. Removing the financial barrier to attending events is critical not only to making our community more inclusive, but in promoting social justice at CMC. With this in mind, we will also be considering other ways to make our events safer and more inclusive for all students.

For several years, students requested removing paid ticketing for events, and many current members of ASCMC’s Executive Board campaigned on greatly reducing or eliminating these ticket costs. It is the mission, and fundamental purpose, of ASCMC to fight for student interests, whether by changing policies within our own organization or advocating for larger institutional changes at the College. I hope students continue to feel empowered to bring ideas and concerns to members of ASCMC with the confidence that these concerns will be heard and addressed, as we want to continue fighting for a more inclusive CMC.