More than a thousand people have signed a petition asking the University of Lincoln Students’ Union to reinstate the yearly Graduation Ball.
The Students’ Union announced on Tuesday that the ball would be replaced with “Grad Quack”, a glamorised version of the SU’s popular Wednesday club night.
A post on the union’s website read: “Getting to Lincoln for graduations, buying gowns and caps, and everything else you need to do isn’t cheap – that’s where Grad Quack comes in. By removing the Headline Acts you usually see at Grad Ball, we’re able to give you this event for as little as around £5.”
But some students were upset that their celebration was being cheapened – and two students even set up an online petition to “change Grad Quack back to Grad Ball”.
“Hearing about Grad Quack, we thought it was very, very unfair on students who don’t enjoy clubbing and events like Quack,” said Ross Greig, the third year Games Computing student who created the change.org page.
“This is completely excluding them, while obviously the SU is supposed to be inclusive of all students. We thought we ought to start a movement towards something that is more inclusive.”
Robert Meacock, who helped Ross set up the petition, added: “As much as I understand the SU’s position of it being the event they run, you can do Quack practically any Wednesday. But this is the send-off for our three years in university. I think we should have a more special, one time only event.”
The petition already has 1,097 supporters (at the time of going to pixel) after being set up on Wednesday evening. The last petition on Lincoln’s campus, to save student pub The Shed, closed with a total of 1,248 signatories.
“After the first three hours of it being up, it had two or three hundred supporters, and it’s just been picking up pace from there,” Robert explained.
The petition has already gained the attention of the Students’ Union, who have allotted time to discuss the issue at Monday’s All Student Members Meeting.
“They’ve been really accommodating,” admitted Robert. “The Grad Quack details came out after the deadline for [All Student Meeting] submissions but they’ve given us ten to fifteen minutes. They could’ve completely shut us off if they wanted to. They are listening to us, at least.”
“From what I’ve heard from other people, [Grad Ball] last year didn’t go as well as they wanted it to. They’re willing to listen to students to figure out how to make people happy and what’ll sell tickets for them,” Ross continued. “We’re not against them, we want to work with them, but sometimes you need to kick up a bit of fuss and get the attention before you can make the changes happen.”
So what would the pair’s ideal Grad Ball look like? “Well, we’ve got friends at other unis, as do most people,” Robert said. “Take a look at what they’re getting: a sit-down meal, live acts, all that kind of stuff.
“But it doesn’t have to be over the top or anything like that. Nothing complicated, just something a bit more unique than Quack.”
Ross added: “Not everybody wants to get pissed and spend their graduation that way. Some people do, and that’s fine, but I think it’s important that we have something else to do.
“We’re all adults now, and that’s the point of graduation – we deserve better than a cheap club night.”
A spokesperson for the University of Lincoln Students’ Union told The Linc: “Grad Ball has always been a key event in the Students’ Union calendar and for the students of Lincoln.
“After last year’s event, we received a lot of feedback from Graduate attendees who stated they would prefer to pay less money by not having headline acts as all they wanted to do was celebrate with their friends and have a good night with the additional entertainment provided such as decoration and drinks reception and fairground rides. It was felt that the word “Ball” gave the impression that food was also served which has never been the case as it is not possible.
“This year’s current event provides the key elements of previous Grad Balls such as the decorations, fairground, drinks reception for a much better price of just £5, without the headline act it is an identical event to any Grad Ball we have hosted in the past.
“We believe that there is a section of the student population that been disillusioned by the concept of this years’ Graduation Ball because of the association with Quack. It is, essentially, Grad Ball without the acts and with a different name.
“Grad Ball has previously given the perception of a sit down meal which is not viable, both financially and logistically, in any venue across Lincoln due to the numbers of people expected to attend and the size of venues in Lincoln and the surrounding area. A sit down meal has never been a part of a SU Grad Ball in Lincoln.
“It is not too late to change the event so if you have views, and wish to have input, then all students are able to attend the All Student Members Meeting in BL1101 at 6pm on Monday 18th April. All the Student Leaders will be in attendance and look forward to discussing this and listening to how they can change the event to try and meet everyone’s expectations as part of the Presidents’ report.”
You can view the full petition on change.org.Tweet