The law ball is not an equal access event. At $130 per ticket, the price for an evening of drinking, dancing and fancy eating is a steep one, and many students are being priced out of the experience.
Held once again at the swish Peninsula Docklands, the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Law Ball ticket includes a three course meal, all you can drink beer, wine, sparkling and the obligatory softies, plus a city-bound bus to take you to the after-party.
De Minimis contacted the Peninsula Docklands and as it turns out, a five hour dinner and beverage package including security hire costs only $90 per person. So why are we being charged an extra $40 per person?
Will Davidson, the LSS treasurer confirmed that the LSS also receives “very substantial sponsorship” from a certain law firm to hold the event. Yet the ball is apparently run with the aim of “breaking even”. Where is the money going? Good question. The LSS declined to provide a break-down of costs for the event.
The surplus $40 from each of the 500 ball attendees gives event organisers a hefty $20,000 to play with, even more when you consider that non-students pay an extra $10. So where is our money going? A 3km bus ride? Hiring a C grade band to play at us while we eat (oh, and ‘shame’ on us if we don’t know them)? And how much could the after-party venue, which is accepting 500 paying customers, possibly charge for a Thursday night reservation? The figures don’t seem to add up.
It is questionable how much of these extra event costs are even necessary and will actually be appreciated. Think about your previous ball experiences; have you ever eaten all three courses? Do you think you will make it to the after-party? My first thought is, ‘Heck yes I’ve paid for it!’ However; on a more realistic assessment of the situation, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to pull myself together after trying to drink my money’s worth. I’d much prefer the option of deciding at the time and not having it included in the price of my ticket.
This highly anticipated event has not always been so exclusive. Held at the same venue, in 2011 tickets were sold at $110 for students and concession tickets were available for $70. The after-party, and its tab were walking distance away which meant no bus costs. The LSS has not offered concession tickets since.
The LSS has a tough job of balancing the quality of the event with making it reasonably priced, and at the moment the balance is not right. Furthermore, this balance is not restored by securing us 20% off at a formal-wear store. If you can afford to buy a new suit for every event you’re not the one in need of financial relief!
A greater focus on equal access needs to be factored into the law ball and LSS events more generally. This focus needs to prevail over making the event trendy, luxurious and exclusive. The Law Ball is an event for ALL students and not all students have $130 to spare.