Grad Ball Fiasco

This year’s Graduation Ball is set to be held at Donington Hall on June 16, but with less than 2500 tickets available, not every graduate will be able to attend. After  ‘dine and ball’ tickets sold out immediately , with people queuing from the early hours to get their hands on one, many UoN students used the Grad Ball Facebook event page as an outlet to voice their concerns with the SU and the grad ball organising committee.

Amongst other comments, graduating students have spoken their opinions about having to queue at the Box Office hours before the doors opened to even get a chance at buying these tickets. The true lack of tickets available compared to the number of people graduating this summer has also been revealed, shocking students that will miss the chance to attend their Grad Ball. Another point that has been questioned is that Grad Ball guests’ +1s do not have to be UoN students. This year’s graduates are the first to leave university with £27,000 of fee debt, and they are concerned that they are being asked to pay more money than their peers at other universities, with Dine & Ball tickets costing £70 and other graduation costs such as gown hire and buying outfits. Family and friends are not excluded from these costs as graduation ceremony tickets are £20 each and to watch a live stream of the event is £12 and not available online.

Her Campus spoke to two UoN students in regards to their Grad Ball tickets:


Ellie-Louise Crocker, successfully purchased Dine & Ball tickets.

“Me and my housemate decided that we would arrive at 5am [to the Box Office], having heard that there were lots of people going for around that time and we had no idea about the demand of tickets or how many they would be supplying. Having completely underestimated CockSoc ball and failing miserably to get dinner tickets for that, it seemed right to be completely sure we were gonna get them by getting up at 4.30am. The people at the front had arrived at 3am, we were probably about 20 people back. I think it's pretty naive to think that there wouldn't be a massive demand though, especially after the CockSoc fiasco. I was mostly keen to go because I had already spent £100 on a dress.”

When asked whether she felt guilty for those who did not get dinner and entertainment tickets:

“Lol, I feel no guilt whatsoever, though I think it's bad that they only had 35 tables and 2000 ENTS tickets. I was angry enough after CockSoc, we didn't want the same situation again. It was gross enough leaving the house at 4.45am, so I'd say we deserve them. Possibly all I would suggest is that as people tended to send 1 or 2 people for tables of 10, maybe a rule should be that everyone has to buy their own ticket?”


Nimrah Rao, only got entertainment tickets when the final 100 were released

“The only thing you think about as a university student when you are about to hand in your dissertation, take your final exams or attend your last lecture is ‘GRADUATION BALL’. Yes, the big celebration you would love to dress up beautifully for and enjoy with the friends you have made over the last three excruciating yet exciting years at university.

However, many of us are not going to get a chance to attend our Grad Ball because people were given the opportunity to buy an extra ticket for an outsider who is not even graduating from Nottingham, possibly has never even visited.

The Grad Ball committee advertised the ball weeks ago. Out of 9000 students graduating in 2015, nearly 2600 showed interest, but the committee only managed to arrange 350 dine and ball tickets and 2000 ball-only (ENTS) tickets.

People started queuing for their £70 dinner and ball ticket at 3am (some on the day their dissertations were due) and only a few got lucky. When ENTS tickets went on sale online, the website kept crashing and again, many students failed to get their hands on a ticket.

As I was one of those people who didn’t get lucky till the very last minute, I posted an angry complaint on the [Facebook] event and was astonished to see the support it received. What really surprised me was the reply by one of the committee members. She talked about how events with exclusivity clauses are less popular and people have friends in other year groups that want to attend.

So the only thing the committee cared about was the exclusivity and their sales, not about the sentimental value attached to this event. I believe graduation ball is for people who are GRADUATING and not for their family and friends. If the organisers were so concerned about their sales then they should have first given the Class of 2015 a fair chance [to buy tickets] and then later, if there were tickets left, opened it to non-students. 

Like many, I am gutted that after paying so much money and putting in so much hard work during the last three years,  non-students will be enjoying my graduation ball instead of me or some other deserving UoN student.

I really hope the university doesn’t disappoint next years’ graduates and lets the deserving ones celebrate.”


The official Grad Ball website states that Donington Hall has been called ‘the most exclusive venue in the region’. Seems to be true.




Edited by Samantha Carey