The Mail

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I'm sure you get scores of letters on this topic annually--here's mine.

Why does the Harvard Ticket Office treat us students as something less than second-class citizens? Why aren't we given ample notice of the times of ticket sales? Why aren't we given the privilege of mailing in or phoning in our applications for tickets--as the alumni are? Why must we always wait in line? Why don't we get better seats? Why must we be treated with so much hostility by the agents?.

Everyone has heard stories of the inefficiency and graft in that office. Trouble is, they are not all stories. And its student-be-damned attitude is especially annoying. Let me relate my recent experiences:

I wished to get a ticket to the Harvard-Army hockey game. The only notice of the time of the ticket sale was put on the door of their building a day before the sale. If I hadn't accidentally gone by there I never would have learned of it, and missed out completely. Well, I waited in line for 45 minutes and was tenth in line. Did I get a good ticket? No. My sent was at the far extreme end of the sidelines--behind the net--on the Army side! Is this the best the HAA can give us?

Today, I went to get a ticket for the ECAC hockey games. There was no notice of the ticket sale anywhere except on the door. It had been put up there only that morning. They were to go on sale at 3 p.m., but the line began forming at 1:30 p.m. By the time the windows opened the number in line far exceeded the meagre supply the HAA had for us. At 2 p.m. a woman showed up and said that she had just called the office and they had said come at 2 p.m. She knocked on the window and got her tickets. When we knocked on the window we were told to leave the building before they called the cops. So we waited outside in the slush (though we snuck back in later).

One boy came to the office with what he said were ticket requests from the players. He had to knock on the door for three minutes before they even answered him (Wadaya want?). Another minute of arguing before they let him in (We ain't got no tickets for you). But he got his tickets. A third person, obviously an ancient athlete, who knew the man at the window by first name, said his tickets had been reserved by...(another first name) and got them immediately. Another man went back to get tickets for Saturday's game and came out soon saying to the person for whom he was getting the tickets: "Don't worry."

All this, while the line grew outside, while the phone kept ringing and being answered in the office, while secretaries and old jocks rushed in and out. Sometimes they actually laughed at us--"What do you want? Ha ha." Other times they reassuringly said that we had to wait until "he" was finished "counting" the tickets. When I finally got to the window, there was this rather angry man--who obviously ran the place--who kept saying with hatred; "Stay in line boys, you won't get service any other way," and "I don't want any trading--hey, what are you doing...?" and "Don't ask me any questions, I won't answer any questions...." He was less than pleased to see any of us there.

We students are treated the way we are because the HAA doesn't owe us anything as it does to old athletes, friends of friends, big money-givers, old pals. It cares nothing about the students--the team's most loyal, vocal, and knowledgeable supporters. Why can't the ticket agency be completely separate from the HKA? It would then be less susceptible to the blatant graft which now exists. Why can't the students get a better and fairer deal? If we can't run it ourselves we can at least investigate it. Where is the Student Council (or whatever it is called), the CRIMSON, the House Committees? Why must we suffer under this humiliating and corrupt machine which is controlled by a too-easily-influenced elite group of retired jocks.

Harvard brags a lot about how its athletic program encourages student participation and avoid commercialism. It certainly has failed in this sector. Whose college is this--the alumni's or the students? John Archibald '64