Last year, summer 2013, I applied to my 1989 alma mater Cleveland State University for the Master of Arts in Global Interaction (MAGI). Some folks will recall that didn’t go so well. I was denied admission based on my 2002 criminal conviction. I appealed the denial directly to CSU president Ronald Berkman with a letter writing campaign from friends, family, and supporters, to no avail. After my run for County Executive in the May 6, 2014 Democratic primary, I decided to re-apply to the same MAGI program based on my performance in the election. The only additional information required for my new application was an updated personal statement, which follows.
In 2013, I applied for the MAGI program, and was denied admission based solely on my 2002 criminal conviction. A few months later, I decided to run in the 2014 May 6 Democratic Primary for County Executive.The reason I decided to place my name on the ballot for the second time (first in 2010 for County Council Disrict 7 where I earned 730 votes), is that the political process, and specifically the voters, are the only forum in which I can be judged as an entire person, not by one mistake. Voters decide who should lead them based on the entirety of a candidate’s record, biography, achievements, faults, mistakes…warts and all.I earned 9,171 votes on May 6, placing third among six candidates, well ahead of both a former county sheriff, and a former mayor. Voters were given ample notice of my mistakes and faults, in fact, every single mention of my candidacy in Cleveland media pointed directly, and often only, to my past. Still, I placed third.I believe CSU, my alma mater, did me a great and very personal wrong in 2013. Thousands of voters in Cuyahoga County disagree with CSU’s admissions committee decision in 2013, with their votes. If someone like me cannot attend a public university, even after proving himself not just professionally & academically, but politically, then I believe I have proven CSU’s admissions policy as unjust and wrong as applied in my case, and that policy must change.CSU has an excellent opportunity to right that wrong, today, in 2014. It would be an honor to help CSU move forward beyond this mistake as a MAGI candidate.