Ezra Klein to speak on campus: Lectures Coordination Board organizes a visit

The Lectures Coordination Board announced this week that they will bring political journalist Ezra Klein to campus later this fall as their first speaker of the year. KIein will speak in the Hill Ballroom on Sunday, November 9 at 3 p.m. His talk is entitled “How Washington Really Works.”

Ezra Klein is a political columnist and blogger currently working as an Editor-in-Chief of Vox. Prior to his current position, he ran the Wonkblog political blog for the Washington Post, where he developed a reputation for writing readable pieces explaining technical policy. His blog is immensely popular: it receives millions of page-views per month. He has also contributed to MSNBC, Newsweek and The American Prospect. His writings have focused on domestic policy and the American political system.

“Ezra Klein is a political analyst, and one of the top three issues that Mac students marked in the survey was politics and current events,” board member Zane Vorhes-Gripp ’17 said. “We thought he’d be a good fit for the community because of his knowledge of the current political scene. His talk is about Washington, and I think that will be really salient, since election day is the Tuesday before he comes to campus.”

Klein is the first speaker that the Lectures Coordination Board has brought to campus. Though the committee was first formed a few years ago, it didn’t bring any speakers to campus at that time. Last spring, however, MCSG re-established the Lectures Coordination Board. It received $50,000 of the Student Activities Fee to bring two high-profile speakers to campus for the 2014-15 school year — Klein in the fall and another speaker in the spring. The Lectures Coordination Board has five members — Annie Gurvis ’15, Cole Yates ’17, Richard Raya ’15, Joe Klein ’16 (no relation), and Zane Vorhes-Gripp ’17. Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Operations Suresh Mudragada has been advising the board, and Director of Campus Activities and Operations Joan Maze has been assisting them as well.

The process of booking a speaker began over the summer, when the Lectures Coordination Board surveyed the student body and began soliciting names of potential speakers. After a few months of discussion, they settled on Klein. They are still considering potential speakers to bring to campus in the Spring.

“We talked about it in a few meetings and came up with a few names, and Ezra Klein is the one that ended up getting chosen,” Vorhes-Gripp said.

With this being the first event ever put on by the Lectures Coordination Board, the hope is that Klein’s talk will be well attended. “I feel like the things he specializes in fall in line with a lot of what Macalester students are interested in. I think students overall are really going to enjoy it and I would urge everyone to attend,” Yates said.