for Forum Events at the Weis Center

Established by the Bucknell Forum Task Force

Background

The demand for reserved tickets for Bucknell Forum events in the Weis Center has typically exceeded the number of tickets available. This document discusses the relative priority for tickets given to each of the various groups associated with the Bucknell community based on the Speaker Series Task Force's (SSTF) operating principles and the ticketing-attendance experiences at previous forum events. It is important to note that all seats for Bucknell Forum events, including those that are ticketed, are free.

Operating Principles

The SSTF has established operating principles that guide the SSTF in decision-making and managing forum events. Three of these operating principles are relevant to the issue of ticketing:

  • The Speaker Series Task Force will uphold and strengthen the mission, vision and reputation of the University and the goals of The Plan for Bucknell.
  • The Speaker Series Task Force will seek to maximize institutional discussion of speakers' ideas by encouraging departments to link appropriate classes or other programs to forum events.
  • The Speaker Series Task Force will encourage events and materials surrounding the forum events to promote productive reflection, debate and discussion on campus about the views expressed by speakers during the series.

Audiences

In light of these principles, the SSTF holds as its highest priority for advance tickets ensuring that current Bucknell students, staff and faculty can attend forum events.

The SSTF recognizes as well that alumni, as well as University and forum donors and potential donors, must be given a high priority for reserved seating, in part because they help make the series financially possible. The SSTF also recognizes that it must make it possible for the public to attend events as the series represents an important means to achieve The Plan for Bucknell's goal of connecting the University with the community. As such, the SSTF allocates a block of advance tickets for each of these groups.

Ticketing Methods

The SSTF has experimented with ticketing distribution methods over the past two years, including

  • Reserving all seats in the Weis Center for advance ticket-holders. In this approach, considerable numbers of ticket-holders did not attend the events even though requests for advance tickets far outnumbered available seats.
  • Leaving balcony seats available on a first-come, first-served basis and reserving all other seats for advance ticket-holders. This approach resulted not only in empty seats, but also in preventing some people who would have liked to attend events from doing so because they were not confident they could arrive early enough to secure seats.
  • Distributing most seats for advance ticketing, including reserving the best seats for student ticketing but also reserving tickets in advance for faculty, staff and the public; reserving remaining seats to be claimed on a first-come, first-served basis; and opening all seats not occupied fifteen minutes before the event starts on a first-come, first-served basis and apprising all ticket-holders of this policy (including printing it on the tickets).

This last model has proven to be the most promising so far.

Classroom Reserved Forum Seating

The last ticketing method noted above, however, has not enabled the SSTF to satisfy all requests by faculty members for tickets for students in their courses.

The SSTF recognizes that current students have an equal right to attend forum events. The SSTF assumes, however, that students required to attend a forum event by a professor are likely to attend the event as well as to benefit intellectually from it. Moreover, the SSTF believes that faculty who receive advance tickets for their classes are likely to incorporate the event into a course and foster discussion of the event before and after the event occurs.

Policy

The SSTF will therefore follow this policy for forum events at the Weis Center:

  • The SSTF will give first priority for advance tickets to students in courses for which professors formally request tickets within four weeks of the SSTF's announcement of an upcoming forum event.
  • The professor should e-mail theforum@bucknell.edu and identify the course title and the number of students enrolled in the course for which tickets are requested.
  • The SSTF will announce publicly the sign-up dates for advance ticketing for the respective student, faculty and staff, and community audiences. No less than two business days prior to the start of the first date of sign-up, the professor must confirm at the e-mail address above the number of students who are able to attend the event. Doing so enables the SSTF to determine how many remaining seats can be made available via the sign-up for advance ticketing.
  • The SSTF will ensure live simulcast of forum events to other sites on campus when forum events are likely to be oversubscribed.
  • Since only a limited number of seats are available and multiple audiences find forum events of interest, the SSTF will typically request that courses with more than 60 students watch the event in one of the live simulcast locations.
  • If a course enrollment is especially large, or if ticket demand prevents satisfying requests from multiple sections of the same course, the SSTF will be prepared to arrange for live simulcast to a campus location reserved for that class or those sections should the professor(s) find that option of interest.
  • The SSTF may ask professors who request tickets later than four weeks after the event is announced to direct their students to obtain tickets through the advance ticketing sign-up process or to watch the event from a simulcast location on campus.
  • The SSTF will always seek to secure permission from guest speakers to re-broadcast their presentations on myBucknell and BUTV and, when possible, on public television.
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