GAINESVILLE, Florida (WCJB)
A newly signed education bill stops public colleges in North Central Florida, and those around the state, from designating free speech zones on campus.
University of Florida Spokesperson Steve Orlando explained free speech zones as "a designated area where people are told they have to go in order to practice their right to free speech."
This means anybody who wants to have their voice heard can do so in any outdoor place on campus, as long as it is lawful and not interfering with everyday college activities. However this doesn't have a large impact on public university's like the University of Florida.
Steve Orlando explained "University of Florida doesn't designate free speech zones, we're an open public university so students are free to practice their right to free speech in any outdoor space."
Some students believe this may mean they deal with more messages they don't want to hear. Like college sophomore Seth Piatek
"Just personally I feel like its going to give people the confidence to be a bit more controversial and speak more thoughts about things that aren't necessarily where society is heading."
While speakers, like preacher Tom Short who travels across the country to speak on college campuses, believes this helps protect those same messages.
"In most cases the conservative speakers who are being shut down on campuses, it will protect there right to speak."
Currently at UF speakers mostly stay in two areas, however this new bill may encourage speakers to spread out across campus even more because the school simply can't restrict any outdoor public spaces.
Seth Piatek said "I don't think it will change too much but it might increase in some areas where people might just be sitting for a bus or sitting with friends and now they're being approached and having to hear somebody preach about something they don't want to be listening to at that moment."
Tom Short added "The college campus should be the marketplace of ideas where we can be challenged in what we think and exposed to different ideas."
If a university did try to limit a speaker to a "Free speech zone" they could could be subject to a lawsuit.