USF has long been home to street preachers and other outspoken individuals who take advantage of the large crowds and right to free speech on campus to vocalize their convictions.
However, their messages have traditionally been limited to the projection of their voice.
That’s not the case with a man who’s recently taken to using an electronically amplified megaphone to spread his message to Cooper Hall and beyond.
While free speech everywhere is of the utmost importance – especially on a college campus – and should be protected regardless of the message, amplifying one’s voice using a powerful electronic device should not be tolerated at USF.
In Florida, automobile drivers’ car stereos are not allowed to project sound beyond a 25-foot range, whether it’s a Brittney Spears’ pop song or a political rant by Glenn Beck.
The same reason why amplified music from car stereos is outlawed on USF’s campus or anywhere else in Florida is the reason why amplified ranting must not be allowed on campus. It’s highly disruptive, especially if one were to turn the volume up a few notches.
If campus speakers are allowed to use amplified sound equipment, then there’s no clear line defining how loud or powerful the equipment could be.
The human voice can only be so loud, protecting studying students or people who wish to avoid hearing what demonstrators have to say.
Using multiple megaphones, or especially powerful ones, could possibly transfer sound through classroom walls and become a serious disruption that may result in calls to authorities from students and professors.
Even if some are willing to tolerate megaphones currently, they will always present the opportunity to be taken to far and must be regulated by the University.
Enough damage is already caused through the insults, judgments and disruptive language used by many campus preachers. Allowing electronically powered amplification devices to project their voice top unlimited heights creates a level of campus disruption that requires university leadership to act in the interests of students who may have a difficult time studying or thinking while on campus.
It’s not fair that one is allowed to use technology to project sounds as loud as they wish as long as they’re not in their automobile.
USF leadership must take action, before the electronic megaphone technique escalates to a level that everyone agrees is unacceptable, by banning the use of amplified sound equipment to voice beliefs.