Secular music cut from coffee shops

Biola reinforces Christian music policy at cafés with a subscription to Pandora.


Junior communication sciences and disorders major Michalyn Slagle listens to her own music in Commons. | Johnathan Burkhardt/THE CHIMES

Amanda Sakowski, Writer

After receiving a variety of complaints due to the type of music played in campus coffee shops, Christian music will be the only genre played, though there is the possibility that a wider selection may be added in the future.


There have been two consistent complaints: the volume and selection of music playing, said Don Sims, senior director of auxiliary services.

“When we are in a Christian school, a Christian organization, you have to be careful. A lot of people come here, they all have our concepts of what we should be and so we have to kind of walk that line,” Sims said.  

This is not a new policy at Biola, but it is one that was not heavily enforced. Biola is now addressing the issue after receiving a culmination of complaints over the years, mostly from parents and occasionally students.

“Our policy has always been, it is supposed to have been, Christian music but our systems allowed students, we allowed the student managers to play their own music, so they made choices,” Sims said.


Copyright issues are a concern when students play their own music, which is now being addressed by paying royalties to use commercial Pandora.

“We suddenly realized that we were not in compliance with law in that if we were playing music over speakers for the general public. It had to be basically under copyright agreement,” Sims said.

The new system is currently in place at Blackstone and Heritage cafés, but they are working to implement it at Common Grounds and The Talon, as well as the fitness center.


Students who have recently visited Heritage Café have noticed the change of music and are responding through the comment cards available to customers.

“I am a music major and we are taught to look at all music and anything that is beautiful and done well as God’s creation, so I have never been offended by what I have heard,” said Anna Kietzman, senior music composition major. “I used to work at Commons, so I remember that we would play a myriad of things.”  

Kietzman stated that workers at Common Grounds would often tailor their music to their audience, particularly during events such as Grandparent’s Weekend.


The reinforcement of the music policy has assisted in streamlining the process for employees as they do not have to attend to the music device while working.

“It’s really easy because they have it set up so they have it all programmed on their side,” said Leon Darley, Heritage Café student manager and senior physical education major. “It comes on in the morning before we open and it turns off at night when we close and they have the capability of scheduling certain stations during certain times.”

Students have also voiced concerns regarding the new selection of music with cafés such as Common Grounds, which is well known for their playlists.

“I didn’t have a really strong opinion about it. I mean, I feel like it will probably get old if it’s the same songs over and over again,” said Kaelyn Large, sophomore communications major. “I really enjoy the music that was played in Commons, like different music and different genres.”

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