UF’s upcoming Student Government elections present the most diverse lineup in its history. All three candidates for Student Body president are African American. Ian Green represents the Impact Party, Revel Lubin runs on behalf of Inspire Party and Janae Moodie heads the newly introduced Challenge Party.
When former President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, it was a turning point in political — moreover — American history. Having a Student Body president of color can have the same effect on a college as it can a country. When either Green, Moodie or Lubin take the podium, that will be the launch point for UF’s path toward fundamental change and diversity.
College serves as an imitation of the real world, with its own government system and social scheme and prepares young adults for their lives after completing their education. Electing a president of color reflects the increased diversity in leadership the school has embraced.
Black students are especially excited for this year’s elections. Many think it’s about time. The black community represents about six percent of the UF population compared to the about thirteen percent nationwide. Although UF’s black population remains a minority, their call for change speaks for the majority. Students are encouraging one another to get informed and read up on the candidates’ platforms. The political parties have taken over social media with candidate statements and promotional videos in order to reach students on their own turf. To add, the Black Student Union hosted a debate between the three students and provided a platform for students to educate themselves. The debate was held in the Reitz Union and allowed candidates to speak directly with the people they wish to serve, unfiltered and unedited. Political transparency is fundamental in building trust with the community and maintaining a well-functioning government body.
Looking back on the 2016 U.S. presidential election, UF’s campus was split between not only the political parties but also racist bigots. The politics broke up friend groups. The election allowed students to show their true colors, and this unveiled a population of ignorance and prejudice. However, the school has been making progress toward unity with many student-led initiatives. Having three black presidential candidates symbolizes the headway the community has been making toward social harmony and progress.
The Student Body as a whole is the first priority of SG, yet this year’s candidate roster will also run SG with a new sense of cultural competency. Black students at UF are being given an immense opportunity to elect one of their own and have this person represent themselves as well as The Gator Nation.
It has been about 60 years since UF started admitting black students, and it’s only right this year’s Black History month hosts this historical election. The black community wins no matter what the outcome of the election. UF’s new class of 2022 will be christened with a black Student Body president, and the situation will impact student culture significantly. Although there are many speculators criticizing the political parties themselves, they forget the bottom line of the situation: Change is coming.
Madisyn Jones is a UF accounting sophomore. Her column focuses on black culture.