Playhouse tickets now one dollar

USG removes subsidy to pay for student tickets

Written By Mick Stinelli, Co-News Editor

For years, the United Student Government (USG) has subsidized the one-dollar charge for student tickets at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Now, in order to meet growing financial demands of student clubs and organizations, President Kaylee Kearns has enacted an executive power to remove that subsidy. The Playhouse will now charge all students one dollar for tickets to student productions.

The decision came suddenly in a press release Wednesday afternoon that stated that the removal of the allowance would be “effective immediately.”

It was an action made after what USG senators and executive cabinet members described as brief and informal.

Kortney Lampel, a junior accounting major and USG treasurer, said there was no extensive discussion on the matter. “It was an idea that she [President Kearns] had and it didn’t go much further than that.”

Lampel said that, as treasurer, she is happy that more money is going into student organizations. She noted that taking money out of the bike program, as opposed to Playhouse ticket subsidies, was never considered in executive meetings.

Megan Ortego, sophomore cinema productions major and USG president pro-tempore, said that though she was in favor of supporting the clubs through removing the student ticket subsidy, the senators “should have been informed ahead.”

Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) Senator Kristopher Chandler, a senior screenwriting major, said there was no prior discussion on how such a swift decision would impact the students. 

President Kearns defended the decision, explaining that she made no effort to reach out to senators or students because she doesn’t need permission to revoke funds.

The executive order was met with swift backlash from the student body, prompting a written explanation from Dean Paylo.

“Where the confusion might be taking place is that students will now have to pay the $1 fee for tickets,” Paylo wrote in an email to all students. “This was the subsidy that USG was paying and will now be using these resources to benefit student organizations.”

Anthony Dennis, Director of Sales at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, said that students will be charged a dollar in cash, but students paying with card will have to pay a three dollar service fee, totalling four dollars for a ticket. 

Dennis also pointed out that some classes even require students to see student productions. 

“I feel bad it could cost students four dollars for a show and some students are forced to see shows,” he said. 

The money initially came from USG’s internal fund, which also funds the bike program. The bike program allows students to check out up to 10 bikes from the Student Center on a “first-come-first-serve basis,” according to the Point Park website.

USG receives club funding money from the student activity fee, taking in 11% of the money.  

“We are willing to reach out and help students find a resource for the ticket cost,” Kearns said. 

The money, which still resides in USG’s internal budget, according to Lampel, will be discussed at next week’s USG meeting. 

At last year’s internal budget meeting, then-President Bobby Bertha noted the growing size of the internal budget.

 “It is a little bit larger than it has been in the past because of a few things that we were made aware of at the end of the fall semester such as the Playhouse tickets,” Bertha was quoted in the Globe. “As you know, we supply all the student Playhouse tickets each semester, and that comes out of the budget every semester.”

As of now, the executive order to end the Playhouse subsidies has not been officially delegated by any of the senators. It is still possible the senators could move to invalidate the executive order, as no such maneuver is currently within the president’s powers as stated in the USG Constitution.