For $10, students at West Quad South Casino Night last Saturday were given a set amount of chips to play poker and blackjack with for the evening. After a few hours of cards, the night ended with an auction in which students could bid on a number of prizes, ranging from gift cards to baked goods to dinners with administrators. All proceeds from the event benefitted “charity: water.”
At the auction, students were allowed to bid cash in addition to the chips they had won during the night. For an additional $10, students could get $3,400 more in chips. By the end of the night, some students had doled out upwards of $200 in cash for auction items. Because the auction allowed students to bid with unlimited money out of pocket, those unable to spend large amounts of cash were put at a distinct disadvantage.
While the auction allowed students to spend “winnings” in chips from the poker and blackjack tables, the coveted prizes were ultimately won by those who could afford to spend the most cash, not necessarily those who won the most poker hands.
Andover continuously strives to create an equal playing field for the entire community through efforts like covering the costs of sports equipment and programs like Text Exchange. Despite the fact that all of the event’s proceeds went to charity, the auction at Casino Night, though an isolated incident, inadvertently subverted this equality.
The auction should have only permitted students to bid with the chips they won, thereby ensuring the auction to be fair for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.