The first Hot Potato lecture will focus on immigration laws.
By Ryann Palacios
For the past 35 years the Methodist Student Center has hosted Hot Potato lectures that spark discussion on hot topics of the day and serve free hot potatoes at the end of the talk.
All students are welcome to attend no matter their political or religious views, said administration assistant Brenda Meneses.
The first talk will be at 12:15 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Methodist Student Center. Criminal justice Professor Marshall Lloyd will discuss immigration laws.
The program is geared toward political issues that directly affect students, said political science Professor Asslan Khaligh.
“Every semester the director of the Methodist center and I get together and come up with several topics to cover,” Khaligh said. “Usually we give questionnaires to our students during the previous semester to tell us what issues affect them and what they want to talk about.”
Khaligh says they have found that students usually want to talk about tuition, crime, marijuana, but the topics are always current.
“It depends on the semester,” Khaligh said. “Like this semester, we are dealing with campaigns and elections so that will be a focus.”
Speakers that guide the talks are not always professors. The lectures also attract public figures who share their expertise.
“Sometimes we get our faculty involved, but we also recruit people from outside of the school,” Khaligh said. Immigration officials, members of the police department and state senators and representatives have all been featured speakers at Hot Potato talks.
Khaligh says the purpose of students attending Hot Potato lectures is to open their eyes and mind.
“In the class atmosphere it’s hard to talk about things that relate to the field because we have to focus on the course lecture,” Khaligh said. “Outside of the classroom students have a chance to learn, participate, be more engaged and involved.”
The goal of the program is to make students well rounded, informed and intelligent, Khaligh said, and he believes the events have been very successful.
“I’ve had several people return and tell me that they used to not be politically involved and now they vote and voice their opinions,” Khaligh said.