Challenge Party presidential candidate Janae Moodie falsely denied serving on a 2016 Senate committee focused on online voting during a debate Sunday.
At the first Student Government presidential debate hosted by the Black Student Union, Inspire Party presidential candidate Revel Lubin said Moodie and Impact Party presidential candidate Ian Green served on the Online Voting Ad-Hoc Committee in 2016. The committee was responsible for drafting codes for online voting. The committee was disbanded after UF's Supreme Court ruled online voting and other constitutional amendments passed since 2008 unconstitutional. Moodie denied this in the heat of the moment, but later said she forgot she had a role.
Moodie said when she was with Impact Party, she supported online voting but was pressured to behave in a way the party wanted.
“I do remember being committed to online voting in the past,” she admitted after the debate in an interview. “It was a lapse in memory of the heat of the moment.”
Although Green shook his head at the debate after Lubin’s comment, he also served as a member of the committee. In an interview after the event, he said he shook his head in disagreement with Moodie stating she was not on the committee herself.
“I’ve never denied being on that committee,” Green said. I’ve never denied that and I’m not denying it now.”
Online voting was one of nearly a dozen issues debated at the historical debate in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, which about 250 students attended. This is the first time in UF history there are three black students running for Student Body president.
At the debate, candidates introduced their party’s platforms. After introductions, BSU president Dwayne Fletcher asked eight moderated questions on topics like retention of black students and staff, the SG budget, online voting, Richard Spencer and the Student Body president’s role on the UF Board of Trustees.
Green said the debate allowed for students to have a safe space to voice their concerns.
“I think the biggest thing we differed on was being able to make tangible change and not just talk about the ‘what if,’” he said. “We all agree there needs to be a change, but I displayed how it’s going to be done.”
During the debate, Moodie said the best way to help with retention rates among black students is outreach. She said UF’s black population, currently at 6 percent, has been “dwindling.”
“We have to be strategic in the way that we’re reaching different corners of campus,” Moodie said. “Although we want the content to be rich, we actually need to be intentional.”
Green said it’s not just about outreach, it’s about education.
“Every student knows that Student Government elections are coming up, but it’s about educating them on the issues,” Green said.
Lubin said he’d like to focus on UF programs like the College Reach Out Program, which helps students from low-income areas in east Gainesville.
“My big idea is bridging those gaps rather than separating us, although we have similar ideas and things we want to implement,” he said. “We need to raise awareness for these programs that already exist.”
Nyasha Joseph, a UF anthropology senior, took notes in a blue binder on the biggest points of the debate to bring back to her friends.
Joseph said she was focused on what candidate offered the most comprehensive platform. She was impressed with Moodie’s performance, she said.
“I think the things I’ll kind of harp on would be who did I see passion within and at which points, who came up with the most tangible plan and who came in with original ideas that were important to the students,” the 21-year-old said.
Here are statements The Alligator staff fact-checked during the debate:
Candidate Janae Moodie said: “I did not sit on that committee.”
This is false. Janae admitted after the debate she did, in fact, sit on the committee in Spring 2016. She attributed the false claim to “a lapse in memory.”
Candidate Ian Green said: “It’s been a while since the chair of Florida Student Association was from UF.”
This is true. The most recent instance the Alligator could confirm was 2005, which was when UF Student Body President Joe Goldberg was the chair of the Florida Student Association.
Candidate Revel Lubin said: “One in 13 men on college campuses are sexually assaulted, and one in five women on college campuses are sexually assaulted.”
This is partially true. The Alligator staff found three different sources that state one in every 16 men, and one in every five women are sexually assaulted while in college.
Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect that the online voting committee was disbanded after a UF Supreme Court Ruling.