Members of the Queen’s College JCR have unanimously voted in favour of the ‘Ball for All’ motion this week.
The motion seeks to support any Queen’s student struggling financially as a result of the expense of buying a ticket for the college’s ball this Trinity term.
JCR President Jane Cahill told Cherwell, “The proposal came about because I thought it was important to recognise that ball tickets do not represent the same financial commitment for everyone, and the Ball Committee agreed that if anyone were to face financial hardship [after buying a ticket], they’d be happy to help out with that.”
Stephanie Jackson, JCR Social Secretary and Ball Marketing Director, added, “The ‘Ball for All’ motion has been designed in order to aid Queen’s students who, as a result of attending the Ball, might suffer slight financial hardship.
“We realise that £120 might be a greater sacrifice for some students than for others, but we are determined to give everyone the opportunity to participate in what is going to be the most important event at Queen’s for the next three years.”
A £250 donation has already been made to the college’s JCR Hardship Fund by the Ball Committee itself, with funds having been drawn from the profits of the college’s previous Ball.
The ‘Ball for All’ motion itself pledged that the JCR would equal the amount already donated, bringing the current total to £500. There are also high hopes that the college will agree to add more money to this fund.
Cahill continued, “I will be lobbying the college this week; I’m fairly hopeful of success but it very much depends on their approach. Even so, I think a £500 pot is a nice one to start with, and represents an appropriate commitment from the students.”
The motion is concerned mainly with retrospective welfare provision, rather than with any kind of ticket drive for the Ball itself
As one Ball Committee member pointed out, “Since we’ve sold out of tickets already, the grant kind of works as a ‘get money back on your ballot’, which might help some people with managing their living costs for the rest of the year, but (this is an important point) it’s not going to make anyone buy more tickets or suddenly choose to buy a ticket now (since, obviously, they won’t be able to as the tickets are already sold out).
“Basically the grant and the JCR/Ball Committee’s decision to contribute money for it isn’t a profit incentive for Queen’s in an attempt to get more students to buy tickets, but it is recognising that the Ball is an important event for Queen’s students and, although it is an optional event, it is one that we hope that everyone who wishes will be able to go to.”
Welfare Rep Maria Newsome added, “I’m excited to extend the excellent work of our Hardship Fund to the Queen’s Ball, continuing our efforts to make Queen’s an inclusive and affordable place to both study and socialise.”
Although the Ball has now sold out, those who might have been swayed by the possibility of such a provision are still able to join the waiting list and file their claim once they do have their ticket.
Money will be allocated to students on a case-by-case basis. Members of the college will be able to file a claim to an ad hoc committee, comprising the JCR President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Welfare Reps. Depending on the outcome the student might be awarded anything between £20 and £50.
Money remaining from the fund will be kept as welfare for the 2016 Ball.
Stephanie Jackson clarified, “If any money is not spent, it will roll over to the next Ball, thus starting a tradition in Queen’s of helping students attend what should be one of the most special nights of their entire college life. The Ball Committee and current JCR Exec are proud to have worked together in order to start this tradition, and hope it carries on for many years.”