Clinton tickets are too hot in demand

When former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 speaks at Woolsey Hall this Friday, hundreds of Yale undergraduates will be among those in the audience. But hundreds more who registered in the lottery for tickets will only see Clinton if their classmates choose to dress as him for Halloween.

Hundreds of students signed up for the lottery last week but did not receive tickets to hear Clinton’s address on globalization. While some students said they were disappointed at their bad luck, others said they felt more complacent about the situation.

Expecting a high demand for tickets for Friday afternoon’s talk, the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization instituted a random Web-based lottery system to allocate more than half of Woolsey’s 2,400 seats to students.

Haynie Wheeler, Associate Director for the Center for the Study of Globalization, said Tuesday that the final number of seats reserved for students was difficult to pinpoint because not all students who received tickets in the lottery had picked them up. Wheeler said the Globalization Center would redistribute tickets remaining at Betts House by 4 p.m. Wednesday according to the lottery list.

“Almost 70 percent of the initial [ticket] allocation was meant for students, and it’s almost certain to be higher than that ultimately,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the Globalization Center decided the seats on the extreme right- and left-hand sides of Woolsey closest to the stage, where members of the press usually sit, would be available for general seating.

“One of the things that Clinton is interested in is talking to students, and we just want to make sure that the people surrounding him are students,” she said.

Aaron Margolis ’06 did not receive a ticket to the address but said he plans to watch the simultaneous broadcast on television.

“I don’t think that I had a God-given right to see Clinton,” he said. “I assume the raffle was conducted fairly, so I was just not lucky enough.”

But Jonathan Menitove ’07 joked that he would be willing to go to great lengths to see Clinton speak.

“Murder and theft are certainly not out of the question,” Menitove said.

Menitove said he saw both advantages and disadvantages to using a random Web-based lottery to distribute the tickets.

“It was certainly equitable with everyone getting an even chance, but maybe they should have done a more personal technique that could have ensured that people who wanted to see him most desperately were awarded the tickets,” Menitove said.

Margolis said he favored random ticket allocation over giving ticket priority to those signing up earlier.

“The problem with first-come, first-serve is that it benefits the people that see the e-mail immediately,” he said.

David Snyder, a support specialist for the Academic Media and Technology Web team, said using a Web-based lottery to allocate tickets was a novel procedure.

“As far as I know, this is the first time that my team has worked on a project like this one,” he said. “In the three years that I’ve been working here, this is the only lottery system we’ve designed.”

For those unable to attend, the address will simultaneously be broadcast on Yale cable channel 10. SSS 114 will accommodate an additional 500 people for an aired live, closed-circuit television viewing of the address.

Former President Bill Clinton LAW '73 greets Yalies after a speech on Cross Campus in the fall of 2001. Clinton will return to speak about globalization in Woolsey Hall this Friday.
Nathan Francis
Former President Bill Clinton LAW '73 greets Yalies after a speech on Cross Campus in the fall of 2001. Clinton will return to speak about globalization in Woolsey Hall this Friday.

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