On May 24, the KAIST Student Welfare Committee announced that it would suspend the operation of the on-campus coin karaoke for a week from May 27 to June 3. The committee had come to this decision due to the discovery of a soju bottle inside the karaoke on the Wednesday prior to the announcement. Drinking alcohol and smoking inside the premises are forbidden and this suspension was intended to warn future visitors from also partaking in these activities.
A coin karaoke is a type of karaoke, known as noraebang in Korea, in which people can pay per song with coins or bills instead of paying an hourly rate like in standard karaokes. KAIST students had been asking for the installation of one within campus for years. The installation of the coin karaoke in what was previously the storage room for the Outdoor Theatre (W9) finally came to reality thanks to the 2016 Undergraduate Student Council K’loud. The announcement that construction had begun was released in October 2016 and the karaoke finally opened in March 2017.
The karaoke is vastly popular among students. There are seven rooms, but all of them are constantly occupied, even during hours when most students have classes. Students have praised the work of K’loud and the constant improvements made to the karaoke by the Welfare Committee, such as changing it to a 24/7 service.
This is not the first time that a soju bottle has been found inside the karaoke. In September of last year, a bottle was found, and through surveillance cameras the committee was able to identify the responsible KAIST student. There have been several other incidents such as the discovery of beer cans, smoking, or people vomiting within the premises. In the most recent case, the person responsible was also identified and they have been banned from utilizing the karaoke by disabling access through their student ID card.
Due to all these repeated infringements despite warnings, the committee believed that suspension was the most efficient way of notifying students of the consequences. They have also stated that it is possible that the operation of the karaoke might be put to a complete halt if similar incidents continue to occur.