After listening to the two candidates tell an audience why they were the right person for the Chancellor’s position, it was easy to favorite one of the candidates. And not for just one or two reasons.
The majority of the time that was allotted for Jannett Jackson, who seemed to be the favorite of audience members, was filled with substance. Her opponent, Tod Burnett on the other hand, made sure to emphasize catch lines, with lots of filler. Not much more than that. Beyond Jackson’s candor and straightforward demeanor, her resume is incredible.
She served in the U.S. Army for 32 years, retiring in 2006. Those that are mathematically inclined will realize that she entered into service in 1974. An age where women were not generally welcomed into the military, and certainly not black women. Even more astounding is her rank at discharge, Colonel. She received a Bronze Star and a Combat Action Medal following two tours in Iraq.
Jackson currently serves as president of College of Alameda in Peralta Community College District. She looks good on her own, but is leaps and bounds better than Burnett.
Burnett was named as a defendant in a 2009 lawsuit after being accused of leading prayer during school-related ceremonies. The case was settled out of court, signaling at least partial guilt.
For someone being considered as a candidate for such a powerful and prominent job, one would think they would come outfitted with a basic knowledge of law, especially laws that are covered in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme court has made affirmations on the issue with Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), which is now the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in schools. Apparently Burnett didn’t get the memo.
Jackson is a clear winner here. A fair discussion was good, but this is as easy as beating the Miami Marlins. At ice hockey. Jannett Jackson for prez — oops, Chancellor.