Hot Topics Café

Hot Topics Café is a program that creates a forum for civil discourse about matters of significance to our communities. Unbiased information sheets present arguments on competing sides of a question, and give legislative histories or other relevant factual data. Members of the community are then invited to voice their views on the topic. Participants learn about the issues, and about alternative viewpoints in the community. Hot Topics Café is non partisan, and we do not endorse a position with respect to any issue discussed. We do not aim to achieve consensus or resolve issues, and this is one of the things that makes Hot Topics Cafés unique among programs designed to foster civil discourse.

Hot Topics Café Community Partners

Hot Topics Café started on the NAU campus in 2011. The program will continue on campus in addition to moving to off campus community locations. The value of these discussions has been recognized in the communities of Northern Arizona, and we are pleased to offer Hot Topics Cafés at these locations:

NAU Green Scene CafeThe Birch Street DeliThe Coconino Center for the ArtsThe Museum of Northern ArizonaThe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Yavapai College in Sedona

 Events Coming Soon.

The Sedona Public Library

 Events Coming Soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Click Here for Venue Location

Past Hot Topics Cafés

Hot Topics Café Model

In the Hot Topics Cafés, discussions are facilitated by philosophers who encourage diverse views, yet point out fallacious reasoning or other logical problems that may arise. A social psychologist is present to talk about the role of compassion in the conversation, and to intervene if there is a lack of civility. Hot Topics Café is a joint project between NAU’s Compassion Project and Philosophy in the Public Interest.

1) Faculty facilitators lay the ground rules for the conversations, explaining the importance of compassion in speaking and listening to others.
2) Student interns will provide the factual background on the issue in question making complicated topics accessible. 
3) Faculty facilitate a public conversation that welcomes a variety of viewpoints. Facilitators also identify fallacies and make helpful distinctions, such as pointing out the difference between a moral concern and a legal concern. 
4) A recorder reports on the variety of viewpoints that were heard at the event.

How We Pick the Topics

The people decide. Hot Topics are selected by committees that represent diverse constituencies and viewpoints. The Hot Topics discussed on NAU's campus are selected by the campus committee. The Hot Topics that take place off campus are selected by a community committee. 

Campus Committee
*Voted to select “hot topics” for the Spring of 2013.

Zac Abrams, President- American-Israeli Alliance
Nolan Bade, Green Jacks
*Kyle Beloin, Philosophy in the Public Interest
Tara Butler, Associated Students for Women's Issues
Daniel Daw, The Lumberjack newspaper
Kaitlin Dodge, President- NAU Young Democrats
Alexis Edmonds, To Write Love on Her Arms
Glenn Garner, President of PRISM
*Zachary Gerber, Math major/Physics major, Philosophy minor/Computer Science minor
Jared Gooshe, President- College Republicans
*Cynthia Haros, Philosophy in the Public Interest
*Evelyn Jores, Secular Student Association
Sarah Kolb, NAZ Today
Alexis Krueger, Student Health Advisory Committee
Ryan Lee, Vice President for Student Affairs-ASNAU
Dashaun Lewis, Ethnic Studies Ambassador
Ellie Lewis, Philosophy Club Officer
Gabriela Perez, Pre-Law Fraternity
*Nicole Ruiz, Philosophy in the Public Interest
*Miles Schneiderman, Secular Student Association 
*Sol Serpas-Guardado, Philosophy Club
*Steven Shook, Philosophy Club Officer
Ethan Wash, National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
Brooke Weber, Associated Students for Women's Issues, NAU Speakout

The Campus Committee is comprised of a diverse group of students who selected issues for the fall of 2012 that are most relevant to them. This group is currently being expanded to include an even wider range of students, faculty and staff who will choose topics for the spring of 2013.

Community Committee

*Voted to select “hot topics” for the Spring of 2013

Allan Affeldt, Owner-La Posada; Founder, Winslow Arts Trust; Former Mayor, City of Winslow; Museum of Northern Arizona Board Member, Arizona Town Hall Board Member, Arizona Citizens for the Arts Board Member
Diana Arendt, County Chairwoman, Coconino County Republican Committee
*Joseph Boles, NAU Professor Emeritus
Scott Deasy, Deacon of Epiphany Episcopal Church, semi-retired OB/GYN
Coral Evans, City Council
*Kathy Farretta, Education Program Manager, Museum of Northern Arizona
*Jean Friedland, Compassion Project, Northern Arizona University
Patty Garcia, Coconino Community College District Governing Board, Nuestras Raices, Raymond Educational Foundation Board
Ken Lamm, Flagstaff Community Foundation
Stephanie McKinney, Chair, Flagstaff 40
Marj McClanahan, Arizona Community Foundation, Flagstaff Community Foundation, Flagstaff Medical Center Certificate Holder, NAU Social and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Council, Museum of Northern Arizona Committee, Phi Beta Phi Financial Advisor, Arizona Society of CPAs
Jerry Nabours, Mayor of Flagstaff
*Wayne Ranney, Geologist, Author, Museum of Northern Arizona Board Member, Grand Canyon Historical Society, Flagstaff Festival of Science Board of Directors
John Stark, General Manager, KNAU
*Craig Van Slyke, Dean, Northern Arizona University Franke College of Business
*Michael Vincent, Dean, Northern Arizona University College of Arts and Letters
Harriet Young, First Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, Arizona Town Hall Member, Member of the Museum of Northern Arizona, Member of the Arboretum at Flagstaff, President of American Association of University Women Flagstaff Branch, NAU Department of Politics and International Affairs since 1992, Philosophy in the Public Interest Advisory Board

Rob Adams, Mayor of Sedona, Philosophy in the Public Interest Advisory Board
*Carol Gandolfo, President, Verde Valley Republican Women
Jane Hausner, Executive Director, Verde Valley Sancturary
Tom O’Halleran, Arizona Republican Senator 2007-2009; President, Keep Sedona Beautiful; Chair, Verde River Basin Parntership; Citizens Advisory Board, PBS
Alicia Magal, Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley
*John Neville, President, Sustainable Arizona, Lead, SEDI Sustainability in Education & Green Business Network
Judy Reddington, Northern Arizona University College of Arts and Letters Advisory Council; Museum of Northern Arizona Board Member, Philosophy in the Public Interest Advisory Board, Sedona Community Plan, Sedona International Film Festival Board Member
*Robin Weeks, Director,Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Steve Williamson, President, Democrats of the Red Rocks

This Community Committee is comprised of a diverse group of community leaders who represent various constituencies in Northern Arizona. Committee members seek input from their various constituencies about the most pressing community concerns. Committee members also promote the Hot Topics Café to their constituencies toward the end of getting a diverse group of people to engage in civil conversations. The Community and Campus Committees represent and reaffirm that Hot Topics Café is a nonpartisan program that encourages broad-based civic education and participation.


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