The missing link

By By Ana Breton and By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

When 21,000 students requested free tickets for The Grand Kerfuffle last year, the Union Board was forced to hire extra hands to help out with the demand.

Working three to four hours overtime, five students were hired to help with the ticket sales.

The Union Board decided it would add a $1 fee to every ticket sold from that day on to compensate for the extra help during future concerts.

Although the dollar would not go directly to Union workers who sold the tickets, it would help build up the Union Board’s budget for other expenses.

When Redfest came around this year, however, the fee was not applied to the 6,081 tickets sold-at $6 for one night and $9 for both-even though the additional help had already been hired.

Brandon Reynon, Union supervisor, said a contract was created for a service fee, but even though the $1 fee was cut down to 50 cents, the Associated Students of the University of Utah, which budgeted the event, never signed it.

As with The Grand Kurfuffle, ASUU “assumed we would just do it again,” Reynon said.

“The contract just went over their heads, and it made us upset because we lost a chunk of change,” he said. “We were basically abused.”

Whit Hollis, Union director, said he was unfamiliar with any contracts and a $1 fee was not added because an agreement was not reached before ASUU had set the Redfest budget.

“Because the ticket price had already been set and advertised, we either had to absorb the extra ticket cost or raise the price,” Hollis said. “We didn’t want to punish students.”

David Black, former Union supervisor, said this happened because of a communication problem between last year’s Union Board and last year’s ASUU Presenter’s Office staff.

“Because I changed positions and the Presenter’s Office changed, there was miscommunication,” said Black, who currently serves as student affairs Web master. “We just dropped the ball.”

Kyle Hansen, Presenter’s Office director, said, “My understanding is that the services desk workers voluntarily dropped the fee. They helped us out a lot because they made it cheaper for students. But then again, I was not in the discussion when it was negotiated, so I might be wrong.”

Some Union workers are still concerned about the effect of the missing fee.

Michelle Cottle, who has worked at the Union service desk for more than a year, said ASUU did not think about the hard work Union workers put in.

“They are inconsiderate, and they just didn’t want to deal with us,” said Cottle, a sophomore in education. “They wouldn’t do this with Smith’sTix because they would get mad.”

Smith’sTix, which sold Redfest tickets to non-students, charged a $4 fee.

Hollis, however, said he wants workers to know that the missing fee did not hurt their wages, which average $7.45 per hour.

When service desk workers at the Union were reached again to further discuss the issue, they refused to comment.

Hollis also said that to compensate for the monetary loss, a contract for the $1 service fee has been signed and will apply to all concerts the rest of the year.

This will be the first time a service fee will be added to both free and paid concerts.