In a leaked preview of the programme note welcoming revellers to the Summer Ball at Alexandra Palace, the President declared that "It’s taken seven years but the Ball is finally back in its rightful home – rather than being an undignified rave on some turf". Then displaying an apparent lack of disrespect for any potential impact his derogatory remarks may have, Mr Arif followed on with the flippant quip "There. I said it. Muh ha ha!".
These blunt statements contrast in style with a recently published carefully constructed argument for holding the event at the West Hall of Alexandra Palace, which argues that this was the only financially viable option. Previous balls held at the South Kensington Campus did face financial trouble but broke even with financial assistance from College as well as external sponsorship as did the last ball held at Alexandra Palace in its Grand Hall. A previous ball, held in the, smaller, West Hall at Alexandra Palace, (in 1998 not 1997 as implied by the President) was profitable.
The decision to hold the event at Alexandra Palace has met with some criticism from some quarters, who feel that it pushes the ticket price excessively high for students. Similarly the decision to hold previous balls at the South Kensington Campus has met some criticism that the venue is unglamorous and that the ticket price is excessively high for the venue. The Summer Ball programme leaves little doubt as to where Mustafa Arif's preferences lie in this regard. It can only be hoped that this personal preference was not the main driving factor behind the decision to hold this year's Ball at Alexandra Palace.
In defence of his remarks Mr Arif asserted that he was just being his "normal cheeky self" and noted that he is recorded as having had made similar comments previously in an Exec meeting. He further expressed that the idea of Alexandra Palace as a venue was "a driver for there being a ball at all" as other Union figures who were previously reluctant to have a ball were enthused by the idea of Alexandra Palace before finally commenting that "student activities are driven by the people who run them no matter what the activity is".