2020 Florida Statutes
Free expression on campus.
Free expression on campus.
1004.097 Free expression on campus.—
(1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Campus Free Expression Act.”
(2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Commercial speech” means speech in which the individual is engaged in commerce, the intended audience is commercial or actual or potential consumers, and the content of the message is commercial.
(b) “Free-speech zone” means an area on a campus of a public institution of higher education which is designated for the purpose of engaging in expressive activities.
(c) “Material and substantial disruption” means any conduct that intentionally and significantly hinders another person’s or group’s expressive rights. The term does not include conduct that is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Art. I of the State Constitution, including, but not limited to, lawful protests and counter-protests in the outdoor areas of campus or minor, brief, or fleeting nonviolent disruptions that are isolated or brief in duration.
(d) “Outdoor areas of campus” means generally accessible areas of a campus of a public institution of higher education in which members of the campus community are commonly allowed, including grassy areas, walkways, or other similar common areas. The term does not include outdoor areas of campus to which access is restricted.
(e) “Public institution of higher education” means any public technical center, state college, state university, law school, medical school, dental school, or other Florida College System institution as defined in s. 1000.21.
(3) RIGHT TO FREE-SPEECH ACTIVITIES.—
(a) Expressive activities protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Art. I of the State Constitution include, but are not limited to, any lawful oral or written communication of ideas, including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, and speeches; distributing literature; carrying signs; circulating petitions; and the recording and publication, including the Internet publication, of video or audio recorded in outdoor areas of campus. Expressive activities protected by this section do not include commercial speech.
(b) A person who wishes to engage in an expressive activity in outdoor areas of campus may do so freely, spontaneously, and contemporaneously as long as the person’s conduct is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the public institution of higher education or infringe upon the rights of other individuals or organizations to engage in expressive activities.
(c) Outdoor areas of campus are considered traditional public forums for individuals, organizations, and guest speakers. A public institution of higher education may create and enforce restrictions that are reasonable and content-neutral on time, place, and manner of expression and that are narrowly tailored to a significant institutional interest. Restrictions must be clear and published and must provide for ample alternative means of expression.
(d) A public institution of higher education may not designate any area of campus as a free-speech zone or otherwise create policies restricting expressive activities to a particular outdoor area of campus, except as provided in paragraph (c).
(e) Students, faculty, or staff of a public institution of higher education may not materially disrupt previously scheduled or reserved activities on campus occurring at the same time.
(4) CAUSE OF ACTION.—A person whose expressive rights are violated by an action prohibited under this section may bring an action against a public institution of higher education in a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief, reasonable court costs, and attorney fees.
History.—s. 6, ch. 2018-4; s. 120, ch. 2019-3.