Final year students were left panicking on 23 May after the University’s ticketing system for July’s graduation ceremonies crashed minutes after the tickets were released.
The ticketing website went live at 9am – and just eight minutes later, Exeter Student Information Desk (SID) took to Twitter to announce that “due to the high volume of traffic…our online store is currently down.”
Numerous tweets from worried students followed. “I’m kind of scared I won’t get any…” one tweeted, while another claimed the website showed all tickets were already sold out.
Confusion followed as some ceremonies’ tickets reappeared on the website but others didn’t – and some students received emails saying their tickets were on sale but weren’t showing up online.
“The website completely failed to cope with the demand and repeatedly crashed, causing panic for students trying to purchase extra tickets for their friends and family,” one third year PPE student told Exeposé. Stating that he was “very disappointed” with the online system, he added: “Only the University could manage to make what should have been a fairly painless and straightforward process almost as stressful as trying to get Glastonbury tickets!”
Another final year student said she had been “surprised that tickets for all the ceremonies seemed to go live at once.”
“The website crashed within minutes, and the whole process was extremely stressful…there was a real fear that the tickets would all sell out.”
Another student asked if tickets could be bought from the Forum SID desk instead. “Unfortunately the tickets have to be sold on the online store to control stock,” SID replied. Problems continued throughout the day, and at 3.20pm SID was being forced to take numerous student ID numbers to check whether purchases had been completed or not.
Ian Blenkharn, Director of Education and Student Experience, said that the University was “sorry for any inconvenience” caused to students.
“This is the first time we have experienced this issue with the online payment provider”
(Ian Blenkharn, Director of Education and Student Experience)
“Following a technical difficulty with our online payment provider, the sale of additional graduation tickets was interrupted,” he explained. “We acted quickly to identify and address the issue, and only 100 fewer tickets were processed compared to the same day last year.
“We would like to thank students for their patience and remind them they can apply for tickets until 26 June.
“This is the first time we have experienced this issue with the online payment provider,” he said, “and we will be reviewing with the supplier how we manage this process in future years.”
Grad Week runs through 11-15 July.