The Arizona Desert Lamp

‘Stead of treated, we get tricked

Posted in Campus, Media by Evan Lisull on 4 May 2009

Jay-Z, confusedThe Last Smash Platinum Bash debuted as a media coup, but now the event is looking to put ASUA in an unfavorable light. Take this scathing Daily Star article from last Friday:

The Last Smash Platinum Bash did not make a profit, nor did it break even. The only question is how much money was lost by the student group that presented it.

A full financial reckoning won’t be available for some time. But ASUA President Tommy Bruce told the Star last month that the concert would break even if about 13,000 tickets were sold at an average cost of about $75.

But most of the seats sold in recent weeks were discounted to below $75, and fewer than 12,000 were sold in all, according to an estimate from ASUA Associate Director Chrissy Lieberman. She said that some of the tickets were given away, but couldn’t say how many.

Why no sales figures? ASUA outsourced ticketing to a company from upstate New York, University Tickets, and the employee with all the numbers spent Thursday on a plane home.

Granted, there is the possibility for some press-release rope-a-dope from ASUA – the numbers could be much better, which will give Bruce the opportunity to gloat at a press conference in his final offical act. Yet assuming that Lieberman isn’t playing games with the Star, one should recall this passage from the Wildcat‘s liveblog:

The Arizona Daily Star reporter sitting next to me just said that he saw a tweet claiming security is now letting spectators without tickets into the concert free of charge.

Followed by this disclaimer:

On another note, it turns out ASUA is not letting people into the concert for free, as previously speculated. They are not offering additional discounts either.

At best, this was simply media speculation in error; at worse, ASUA officials are openly lying about the event. Meanwhile, according to the paper ex-President Bruce isn’t taking any calls, which is never a good sign (although current President Nagata might be worth a shot).

Then there’s the issue of the magic $300,000 reserve that the Star says is ‘gone’ with the projected numbers. The bigger issue, though, is the fact that ASUA has $300,000 on reserve, unaccounted for in the budget, unaccounted for by anyone outside of the executives. To give a sense of perspective, only $90,000 was allocated this year for club funding; and even with the $100,000 from the SSF, ASUA allocated only a total of $180,000 on SafeRide. Is this some local vestige of Al Gore’s lockbox? A hedge fund saved from the vagaries of Subprime Tsunami 2008? Whatever it is, it’d be nice to know exactly why, or how, an amount of money equivalent to 22.5 percent of revenue sources is just sitting, waiting to fill the holes in whatever multiyear project goes awry. We can only hope that these answers will provided under the new era of transparency.


3 Responses

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  1. Stephen Bieda III said, on 4 May 2009 at 9:24 am

    A second concert where ASUA suffers losses is not going to be looked favorably upon by both the Student Body, who is being assessed fees given to ASUA coffers, and the University Administration. When former ASUA President Bruce suggested a 2nd concert in as many years, this time in a bigger venue, it was hoped that they would have learned their lesson from the first attempt. Now, it seems, that this is not the case.

    It saddens me to see that the Student Body, and maybe the Administration, may have to saddle these losses in time of fiscal crisis. In the future, it is hoped that current ASUA President Chris Nagata will follow through on his promise of transparency. Given recent events, I am not holding my breath.

  2. Jimi Alexander said, on 4 May 2009 at 11:41 am

    Yeah, especially since according to the Wildcat Nagata holds up the Bruce presidency as paragons of “excellence.”

    I think we’re in for a long 2009-10 year, boys.

  3. Dave said, on 4 May 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Allow me to display my shock.

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