Monday Morning Message 3.15.21 In the Cabinet!

Posted 2021-03-15 10:34am

“The housing crisis isn’t isolated by geography. It is the daily reality for tens of millions of our fellow Americans - people in blue states and red states, in cities and small towns. My first priority as Secretary would be to alleviate that crisis and get people the support they need to come back from the edge.” – HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge

 “Eviction reveals people's vulnerability and desperation, as well as their ingenuity and guts.” ― Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

 Special congratulations to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge ‘83 who made history last week as the first woman confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in more than 40 years, the second black woman to lead the Department, and the first Cleveland State University and Cleveland-Marshall alumna to serve as a cabinet secretary.

U.S. Senate Confirms Congresswoman Marcia Fudge as HUD Secretary

For a fleeting moment last Wednesday, her two jobs, in the legislative and executive branches of government, overlapped: she voted by proxy in favor of the administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

We are very proud of our distinguished alumna who has served as an unwavering champion for justice and as an exceptional role model for our students. Her leadership will help shape and lift our nation’s economy. Secretary Fudge was recently profiled by USA Today in an article that references her Cleveland-Marshall education and her 2017 induction into the C|M|LAW Hall of Fame and that includes the below photo.

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Our law school has a long history of both advocating for fair, decent, and affordable housing for all and training lawyers to advocate for those important rights after graduation.  Our faculty and our students have spent countless hours advocating for fair, decent, and affordable housing through our law school clinics.   


  • Students have worked with Professor Carole Heyward ’93 and non-profit organizations throughout northeast Ohio to re-energize residential neighborhoods by building and renovating housing.  
  • Students in our Civil Litigation Clinic work with Professor Ken Kowalski to represent tenants in landlord-tenant cases such as eviction defense, the wrongful withholding of security deposits, etc. as well as the assertion of rights under state and federal fair housing laws.
  •  Under the supervision of Clinical Professor Pam Daiker-Middaugh ‘89 and Adjunct Clinical Professor Zach Germaniuk ‘12, our Community Advocacy Clinic students created a tenant hardship affidavit in coordination with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to assist tenants in crisis by documenting their situations, proactively anticipating potential eviction litigation at the onset of Covid-19.
  • Clinical Professor Emeritus Kermit J. Lind supervised our Fair Housing Clinic which played a leading role in the region’s struggle against residential neighborhood destabilization in the mortgage crisis. He pioneered the use of Ohio’s residential public nuisance abatement statute by nonprofit developers who brought civil actions in the Cleveland Housing Court to abate blighted housing conditions.
Graduates of Cleveland-Marshall have been leaders in the quest for housing justice. Let me mention a few: 
  • As Housing Court Judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court, Judge Ray Pianka ’77, a member of our Hall of Fame, gained national prominence for his expertise and innovative programming and jurisprudence.
  • Judge W. Moná Scott ‘02 made history in 2019 when she was the first woman elected to serve a full term as Cleveland Housing Court Judge.
  •  Marilyn Tobocman ‘83, a member of our Hall of Fame, supervised students in our Fair Housing Clinic for two decades in court and administrative agencies. She advocated for housing rights as an attorney with the non-profit Housing Advocates and then with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office where I had the privilege to work with her.
  • Patricia Kidd ‘98 is the Executive Director of the Fair Housing Resource Center, a non-profit organization that promotes equal housing opportunities for residents of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Counties. 
  • Lisa Gold Scott ‘94, Shaker Heights Assistant Law Director, oversees the City’s Fair Housing Office and runs one of the oldest Fair Housing Assistance Programs (FHAPs) in the United States. 

Each of them is an outstanding example of our graduates and faculty who have lived justice every day of their career.

Have a great day. Have a great week. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice. 

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My views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 
| Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

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