Each statement is rated on the civility index by a panel of judges that reflects a diversity of political orientation, age, gender and race. The ratings from the panelists on a scale of 0 [very civil] to 5 [not civil] are averaged for each of the these three questions:
1. Does the statement contain offensive language, derogatory comments, or ascribe pernicious motives to another person?
2.Does the statement misrepresent, belittle, or dismiss another person’s opinion?
3. Does the statement interrupt discussion, silence debate or escalate conflict with another person?
The numbers from the three questions are averaged to arrive at the statement’s overall civility rating.
The panel of judges for each question is selected from the following people:
David Abbott – Executive director, George Gund Foundation. Before joining the Gund Foundation in 2003, Abbott served as president of University Circle, Inc., executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and executive director of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission.
John Begala – Executive director, Center for Community Solutions. Begala is a senior fellow at the Urban Center at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. He also teaches at Baldwin-Wallace College and the Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University Lerner College of Medicine.
William Binning – Chair emeritus, Youngstown State University Political Science Department. He received his master’s degree from St. Anslem College and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1970. He also served as chair of the Mahoning County Republican Party.
Jamie Callender – Attorney and partner, Buckley King LPA. He is a former Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served the maximum four terms, representing the 70th and 62nd districts. He also teaches political science at Kent State University.
R.R. Denny Clunk – Retired probate judge. Clunk was admitted to the bar in 1955 and served as Stark County’s probate judge from 1985 until retiring in 2003. He continues to hear cases throughout Ohio as a visiting judge assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court. He is a past president of the National College of Probate Judges.
Matthew Cox – President of Cox Consulting Group, LLC. Cox was an attorney at McDonald Hopkins LLC and at Tucker Ellis & West LLP. He has served on the Ohio Lottery Commission and as a campaign manager in Ohio issue politics.
David Dobos – Entrepreneur. Dobos is a former member and president of the Columbus school board. While on the board, he spearheaded school district reform policies concerning curriculum, student assignment, equity and financing and budgeting.
Grace Drake – Director, Ohio Center for the Advancement of Women in Public Service at Cleveland State University. She served as a Republican in the Ohio Senate from 1984 to 2001. During her time in the Ohio legislature, she served on various committees and commissions including the Ohio Women's Policy and Research Commission.
Dr. Ronald Fowler – Retired senior pastor of Arlington Church of God in Akron. He served the congregation in various capacities for almost 40 years. He currently assists Kent State University in relationships with the Akron and Cleveland public schools, improving the recruitment and retention of diverse background students.
Mark Ford – Executive Director, Love Akron. He has been a community leader in the cities where he has served promoting racial harmony and denominational unity. A pastor in the Assembly of God, he has a passion to see Christ’s Church be all that God has called it to be and do.
Nancy Hollister – Republican Ohio lieutenant governor 1995-1998. When Gov. George Voinovich was elected to the U.S. Senate, Hollister finished out his term, becoming the first and only woman governor of Ohio. She served in the Ohio House of Representatives, 1999-2004.
David Johnson – Owner Spread Eagle Bed & Breakfast and the Ratskiller Tavern in Columbiana County. He served as a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, 1975-76 and 1979-1994. He has been active in numerous campaigns, hosting presidential and vice presidential candidates over past three decades.
Joey Johnson – Senior pastor and organizer, The House of the Lord in Akron. He is also presiding bishop of the Beth-El Fellowship of Visionary Churches. He founded the Johnson Leadership Institute (formerly known as the Pastoral Mentoring Institute), which trains and mentors senior pastors.
Wendy Kellogg – Professor, Urban Planning and Environmental Studies, Cleveland State University. Her fields of interest are citizen participation, urban and regional sustainability, neighborhood redevelopment and Great Lakes water quality and land use issues. She was a member of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission Blue Ribbon Task Force, 2001-04.
Gene Krebs – Co-director, Greater Ohio. He spent three years on the Eaton City School Board, eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives and four years as Preble County Commissioner. He received the Watchdog of the Treasury Award in 1996, 1998, 2000 and the Star Award from Miami University for outstanding volunteer work.
Rev. Knute Larson – Retired senior pastor of The Chapel in Akron. He served this congregation for nearly three decades, where he pioneered the concept of building community within a mega church by means of small fellowships. He has also taught and preached in national and international arenas and has authored several books.
Bill Leety – Retired reverend of the Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Columbus. Leety previously was pastor of Covenant Presbyterian in Scranton. He is the author of a number of published and unpublished poems.
Lee Leonard – Retired Columbus Dispatch statehouse reporter.. Leonard reported on state government at the Ohio Statehouse for United Press International for 22 years and for the Columbus Dispatch for 14 years. He covered 11 national political conventions and a wide variety of campaigns.
Steven Minter – Executive in residence and a fellow in the Center for Nonprofit Policy & Practice at Cleveland State University. He served as president and executive director of the Cleveland Foundation 1984-2003 and with the foundation beginning in 1975. He has interests in public schools education, economic development, health and human services.
Hunter Morrison – Director Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium. He previously served as director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at Youngstown State University. He has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. .
Ralph Regula – Retired Republican member of U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Ohio 16th congressional distinct for 18 consecutive terms. Trained as an attorney, he previously served on Ohio Board of Education, the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.
Myron Robinson – Past president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, where he served for 17 years. Among his accomplishments is the local Urban League's Multicultural Business Training Center, which was honored by the Small Business Development Centers of Ohio as the best performing small business training center in the state.
Lou Stokes – Retired Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Ohio’s 11th congressional district for 15 terms from 1969 to 1999. Prior to serving in Congress, he practiced law in Cleveland.
Thomas Suddes – Plain Dealer columnist and editorial board member. He served as statehouse reporter, Columbus bureau chief, chief legislative correspondent for The Plain Dealer. Suddes is a past president of the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association. He teaches at Ohio University.
Patrick Sweeney – Assistant to the vice president of governmental relations, Cleveland State University, and director, the Ohio Institute of Public Service. He served for 32 years in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he was Democratic majority whip and minority leader.
Nick Zingale – Co-director, Institute of Applied Phenomenology in Science and Technology, Cleveland State University. He has 18 years of academic and professional experience in public policy and management, including serving as post-doctorate senior executive fellow at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He has taught at the University of Akron and Ohio State University.
[While the panel that judges each statement is selected from the list of people above, not all on this list judge each statement.]