Performance speakers removed from Kaplan’s Café in campus center

By Hannah Kinzer

As Lawrentians stop by Rik’s Café in the Warch Campus Center for a warm beverage during these cold winter months, they may notice that the large speaker system has been removed. The café speakers once amplified the performances of comedy groups, acapella groups, karaoke groups, bands, coffeehouse artists and Jazz Jam. Jazz Jam musician and senior Alex Seizovic recalled, “The Jazz Jam played in the Café every Monday night. It was one of my first great experiences at Lawrence four years ago—so much fun!” However, over the summer of 2015, the speakers were relocated to the Mead Witter Room, located on the second level of Warch Campus Center.

Warch Campus Center Director Greg Griffin explained, “For years we have had complaints from students, faculty and staff that the sound was too loud or interfered with their dining experience.” Seizovic recollected, “I thought the speaker system sounded great, just a little bit too loud for the Café. They could have been turned down a little bit.”

According to Griffin, “the [speaker] system was last fully operational in the Café during the 2013-2014 academic year.” Griffin also noted that, while the speakers were still in the Café during the 2014-2015 school year, “I think only Jazz Jam remained in the space in 2014-2015.”

Removing the speakers affected the Café environment. “Students don’t have to shout their orders, you can have a conversation over a meal, there is more space for dining and students aren’t forced to listen to bad karaoke because it is the only place open for dining,” Griffin said.

Some of the groups that formerly played in the Café now play in the Mead Witter Room. Griffin said, “As we made the transition to a more appropriate space (Mead Witter) we reused the equipment that we had installed in the Café.” The speakers were relocated to the Mead Witter Room during the summer because staff had more time to set up the system for performances. Griffin said, “Performers seem to like the new space better.” However, Seizovic noted, “[Jazz Jam] sometimes play[s] in the Mead Witter room but it isn’t quite the same and very few people hear us play.”