The Orlando Sentinel covered FIRE’s case at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where a protest organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was shut down for taking place outside the university’s “free speech zones.” The article explains the situation at UCF and briefly describes the history of political correctness and the rise of free speech zone restrictions in the 1980s and 1990s. Universities abuse the exception for content neutral and reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions allowed by the courts to restrict potentially offensive speech by relegating it to small and/or remote areas of the campus.
The article points out that free speech zones are used against individuals all across the political and ideological spectrum. FIRE continues to fight for free speech and free assembly at UCF not only for SDS, but the entire UCF student body. We believe that if UCF does recognize its ethical and constitutional obligations to open up its entire campus to free speech, to make free speech the rule rather than the exception, it will find, as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff noted, that “the sky won’t fall.”