Free speech zones avoid disrupting education

Daniel Melo/ Contributing Writer

Freedom of speech is inarguably a pillar to American moral and ethical values. However, there is a time and place for free speech demonstrations.

At FIU, higher education is the one thing unifying students and faculty. Therefore, an organized group of protesters shouldn’t go about disrupting the privilege of learning. As a solution, FIU has free speech zones that allows groups to gather and utilize their First Amendment rights.

To put it into perspective, we have the Nazi-like pro-life missionaries sent by God himself to alter the perspective of individuals walking on the sidewalk.

Let’s say it’s also finals week and nerves are racing. While individuals are taking their final exam, these protesters start chanting and marching, disrupting the students preparing to take their final exams.

Place yourself in the shoes of the students taking the exam. Would you be angry or would you sympathize with their First Amendment rights?

Free speech zones avoid this and allows the groups to organize and maximize their publicity in a peaceful and efficient manner. Although not required, groups organizing are encouraged to assemble in predestined locations to increase viewership and decrease potential disruptive activity.

FIU guidelines prohibit, with no exceptions, demonstrations in certain parts of campus such as near residence halls, the Children’s Creative Learning Center, FIU libraries and buildings where child and elderly care is being provided.

These free speech zones do allow for optimal demonstration prowess. Students can get their points across in a highly efficient manner to a vast amount of students, if done tactically. These zones are made to assist students by locating them in favorable spots and having the university’s approval.

Students with groups of thirty or more people must notify FIU two days prior the demonstration. The group doesn’t need to receive confirmation, but they need to provide notification in order to assemble in such a large group.

The reason for this is because a group of this size or larger may disrupt normal campus operations — so the university has to be prepared for any potential alterations.

Many claim that free speech shouldn’t be regulated to such restrictions on campus grounds, but the fact that FIU is mainly committed to the pursuit of higher education impedes anything else.

In order for their primary goal to be reached, certain limitations are necessary. FIU does believe in free speech, but they don’t think that freedom of speech should impede the process of learning, and it shouldn’t.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Featured image: Nicole Malanga/ PantherNOW

In the photo: Yma Fyeda (Communications Digital Media Studies major, senior)

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