AAU staff and students kicked off the first “Professors in the Pub” of the semester at the Cafe de Taxis last week, restarting a popular event with relaxed political discussions over drinks.
Many professors who attended the event allowed for their personal biases to shine through as they kicked back with a beer or two. This month, the group discussed American dysfunction and bounced off each other’s statements with a respectful sense of accord and disagreement.
While the discussion was focused on topics related to international relations or the humanities, professors encouraged a wide range of students on campus to join in.
“I feel like it’s a really nice way to get the unfiltered professor, because in a lot of ways, class is just the information, but it’s not opinion,” said Gwen Holcomb, a second-year international relations major. “One of my professors actually told me to come tonight.”
Though the discussion flowed primarily among a handful of professors and a pair of students, everyone was welcomed to speak. The rest of the attendees were able to sit and watch while the participants built on each other’s ideas or had polite disagreements. While it was an event centered on academics, the atmosphere was much more spontaneous and unguarded than the typical classroom.
“I feel like you can really have some discussions that you might not be able to have inside the classroom,” said Baylie Hoffman, a student who attended the event. The design of this event lent a rare climate of approachability in which students could comfortably share their thoughts with their professors while sipping on a cold beer.
After a brief introduction to the topic given by George Hays II, the AAU Chair of International Relations, a wide range of events were discussed – from a potential cold war between the US and China to the current political polarization within America.
“They get to see the profs having a couple drinks, getting a little bit loose; maybe some of those biases start to come out, which they hide in classes,”said AAU Professor Rob Warren, a regular participant at “Professors in the Pub.”