November 3, 2016

Faculty share expertise on election issues

Law specialist stresses future financial policy decisions

Christopher Sagers, a professor in the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law since 2002, specializes in United States antitrust policy, financial policy  business regulations and is  the author of the forthcoming book “Apple, Antitrust, and Irony,” published by Harvard University Press.
Sagers discussed how financial and regulatory issues will affect the next president of the United States.

“These issues are very significant in this elections,” Sagers said. “We are in the midst of ongoing regulatory change that is very controversial, and that will pose a lot of very difficult issues for the next administration -- whomever is in charge.”

In 2010, Congress reported to increase regulation of the financial sector, which had  been deregulated in the past few decades, according to Sager. The law adopted to complete the Dodd-Frank bill, doing several things in the process, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It also set up the first program that regulated the derivative instruments, which led to the 2007 mortgage meltdown.

“The other really important thing that Dodd-Frank did was it also tried to regulate the systemically significant entity  -- the too-big-to-fail financial entities,” Sager said. “The problem is that Dodd-Frank is really just a beginning and there needs to be a lot more attention on these sectors to protect the consumer.”

Sager added that, like many things in government, Dodd-Frank was very controversial and about half of Congress wants to stop further regulation and to repeal what has already been done.

“The problem the next president is going to face is that we are going to have very narrowly divided Congress, which is probably to some extent at odds with the White House and the Financial Regulatory Agency,” Sagers said. “But, they are going to have to deal with serious problems. Mainly that there is still a small number of very large financial entities that control most of the financial sector and they pose certain threats, and they are going to continue to do whatever they can to get away with whatever they can.”

Sager said he believes the next president will need to pay a lot of attention to the financial sector.

“No matter who wins, they are going to have to face the fact that there are problems in the financial sector that haven’t been fully addressed to anybody’s satisfaction,” he said.

Data expert looks at access to voting, minority populations

Dr. Mark Salling is Senior Fellow in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and director of the Northern Ohio Data and Information Service. He is an expert on the U.S. Census, redistricting and minority and low income voting.

Salling has his doctorate in geography with an interest in urban geography and demography. In the last 15 years, he has been involved in political geography dealing with elections, voting rights issues and redistricting.

Salling’s research center has produced the database for the state to do its redistricting. His research team  isn’t doing it this time around, but have been the ones collecting and organizing the data for the past 30 years.

Salling has also participated in several federal cases revolving around the issue of voting rights.

“I’ve been involved in the issue of the lack of early voting opportunities and how it can be discriminatory to minorities,” Salling said. “I’ve done some research on this that has been used in federal cases.”

While Salling said he believes that Ohio has one of the best systems for early voting, he also thinks that there is always room for progress with this type of issue.

“It has been shown in my research as well as other research conclusively that limiting early voting has a greater negative impact on minority populations,” he said. “It can be said to be discriminatory to minorities.”

Minority voters are more directly affected by the lack of early voting options than Caucasians because they are more likely to be living in poverty, according to Salling.

“People can either vote by mail if they’ve applied or they can go to the county before the actual day of the election and they can vote,” he said. “The questions are: ‘How many days before the election are they allowed to vote,’ ‘What are the voting hours of operation for each of the counties,’ and ‘What days, including weekends, is voting offered?’

“All of these affect people’s ability to vote. Some work, some don’t have much of the ability to get to the voting place on the days that are allotted to vote or it is inconvenient if they have children to watch and take care of.”

Cybersecurity concerns should be an election consideration

Candice Hoke is the co-director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection and a professor in Cleveland State’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She has been in the cyber security field for almost 12 years and has earned an information security degree to augment her credentials for teaching and consulting in this field.

Times are changing and the world is becoming more digital. But, this has its perks as well as its downfalls, according to Hoke.

“Unlike 20 or even 10 years ago, most businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, educational and financial institutions, hospitals and health care entities now store their business information in digital information systems instead of in filing cabinets,” she said.  “Many connect these digital files to the Internet, to allow their remote employees and contractors to access information efficiently.  But, this Internet connectivity can present the opportunity for rogue actors across the planet to access, use or corrupt this information.”

She went on to explain how we are also using cyber-physical systems, which means our infrastructures depend on cyber security as well. Hoke explained that computer chips and computer softwares are now determining if things like the electrical grid or even a complex manufacturing machine will work and do its job, or just explode. She said she believes there needed to be more cyber security involvement in the switch to the digital age.

Hoke said the United States is not teaching Americans how to recognize and manage cyber security risks so that they can make good decisions as far as what the put online. She said she believes that more students should be taking classes in cybersecurity and privacy protection.

“[Students] need not be a software programmer or technically proficient person to be a professional in one of the many career paths now developing in these exciting, cutting edge fields,” she said. “One can serve tremendous public and business needs. Yet too few are being trained for the jobs that are open and expanding.”

As far as this election, Hoke believes that there are many examples as to why the U.S. needs to pay more attention to cybersecurity.

“There’s a lesson for everyone in the hacked emails from presidential candidates and their advisers.  Email as most use it is not secure and private.  It’s like sending a postcard that can be copied by many,” she said. “We need to do a far better job in educating the entire public, but especially college students, on what we term basic cyber hygiene. Email should virtually never be considered a private or secure communication method.”

In order to fix this problem, Hoke said she thinks there needs to be legitimate government action taken.

“In the short term, we need Congress to appropriate monies for investing in the security infrastructure that is needed by our States and localities when they seek to conduct elections,” she said. “Election cybersecurity has not been recognized as the critical national security need that it is.  Election operations are largely underfunded and definitely underperforming given the substantial security risks we face from abroad and even domestically.”

Racial issues still in the forefront as election nears

Ronnie Dunn, associate professor of urban studies, is an expert in urban and social policy, race relations and racial profiling. He also has expertise in race, crime and criminal justice.

“Race relations [and] how racial profiling is becoming more prominent in criminal justice are two of the most significant domestic issues in this election,” Dunn said. “This is a tough issue that will require reforming the criminal justice system throughout, not just the police.”

These issues like racial profiling are and always have been more likely to take place in poor, impoverished places, according to Dunn, and need more attention than just some regulation changes.

While Dunn is a firm believer in establishing federal regulations against racial profiling, he said he believes that there is more to the puzzle than just that.

“The new president will need to remediate the lives of the people already affected,” Dunn said. “The damage has already been done and we need to fix it by creating jobs in these poor communities and allowing these areas to rebuild themselves.”

As far as a candidate that is up to this difficult task, Dunn says he only has heard one candidate like they are ready and that is Hillary Clinton.

“Clinton is more sensitive to these kinds of issues,” he said. “Donald Trump wants more stop-and-frisk-type interactions and that is not what we need. I’ve also heard him say a lot of offensive things in his policy recommendations, and that will not help us put an end to racial profiling or crime.”


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