By Kellie Chudzinski
Before she was an activist and writer, Monica Lewinsky was the woman with the blue dress at the center of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. On Wednesday (Feb. 19), Lewinsky will deliver the keynote address for Loyola Marymount University’s annual First Amendment Week. The theme: “Reclaiming Our Stories.”
The event is not open to the public and attendance is limited to LMU OneCard (school ID) holders.
(Editor’s note, 2/14/20: A previous version of this article suggested The Argonaut would have follow-up media coverage of this event; it will not.)
Lewinsky became an infamous household name in 1998 with reports she engaged in a sexual relationship with then-President Clinton from 1995 until 1997. Clinton’s on-air denial eventually led to a full investigation by independent counsel Ken Starr, perjury and obstruction of justice charges by the House of Representatives, and a 21-day impeachment trial in the Senate that ultimately acquitted the president. During the Senate trial, Lewinsky testified that her relationship with the then 49-year-old Clinton began when she was 22 years old and resulted in nine encounters over two years.
After nearly a decade away from the public eye, Lewinsky returned to the spotlight in 2014 as a public figure weighing on the pernicious impacts of public shaming and cyberbullying. In 2018 she participated in the A&E documentary series “The Clinton Affair” to reframe the events of what was once widely known as not the Clinton scandal but “the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
Lewinsky is a Los Angeles native, having attended Beverly Hills High School and Bel Air Prep before continuing on to Santa Monica College. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lewis and Clark College in 1995 and her Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics in 2006.
LMU launched First Amendment Week in 2003 to celebrate the United States’ unique protections of free speech, press, assembly, petition and religion by encouraging those with differing opinions to engage in respectful, informative discourse. Past speakers have included sportswriter Jemele Hill, actor Jesse Williams, pundit Ann Coulter, comedian Bill Maher, actress America Ferrera and Bush administration policy architect Karl Rove.
Student newspaper The Los Angeles Loyolan collaborates with student government to co-host and co-produce First Amendment Week events.