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Sound Amplification Policy Affects How Visiting Preachers Interact With Students on Campus

Tim Belizaire

FGCU students have watched the same preacher visit campus for almost seven years. He claims a new policy that prohibits him from using sound amplification on campus will not keep him or his team from continuing to preach on campus. 

According to FGCU Policy 3.026, sound amplification is only allowed from the Veteran’s Pavilion between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday with the permission of Campus Reservations. 

“[The speaker] allowed us to be able to speak at a normal voice and get our message out,” Adam LaCroix said. “And you could say it gave us more of a range where many people across the lawn can hear us but you know, I mean, we’re used to it. We’ll do it either way.”

LaCroix is a frequent visitor to the university’s public campus, exercising his freedom of speech to the fullest. LaCroix identifies as an evangelist, which is the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching. 

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LaCroix is not the only preacher that visits campus. However, he is well known among students and has a reputation for being loud and arguing with passersby. Over the past semester, he was seen less often and campus goers said they haven’t missed his rhetoric. 

He runs a YouTube channel under the name TeamJesusPreachers. He and his team travel to different colleges around Southwest Florida including the University of South Florida (USF), Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Florida International University (FIU), spreading information that they refer to as the truth.

Some students do not agree with his rhetoric. Senior Marlon Acevedo argued with LaCroix about his teachings outside of Howard Hall on Monday, Jan. 8. 

“He’s speaking nonsense. I mean, technically he’s casting all these people to hell that he doesn’t have a right to cast to hell. First of all, Jesus never cast anyone to hell, everything he ever said was metaphorical,” Acevedo said. “He believes in an extreme Christian fundamentalist version of Christianity that makes everybody look bad.”

On his YouTube channel, LaCroix indulges more in live streams than pre-filmed videos. His streams can range from a few minutes to over five hours. Some of the titles of his videos are “Are you a worshiper? If not, you’re probably NOT saved,” “Reasoning with the students… or at least trying to” and “Just another night at the bar? Might be your last…” 

Over the past few months, students hadn’t seen him as often and they started to wonder why. 

When Student Body President Emory Cavin was running for his position, one of the pillars in his campaign was to “drown hateful rhetoric.” He referred to the campus preacher while running for office and said it would be one of the first things he worked on if he was inaugurated. Students may not be aware, but Cavin did keep that promise. 

Last semester, with the support of President Ayesegul Timur and the board of trustees, the university was able to pass a policy that effectively banned the use of sound amplification on the main campus while school was in session. 

“Since you have to reserve the Veteran’s Pavilion, that means that people like the campus preacher cannot come and use their amplification systems,” Cavin said. “That might seem at face value as a small deal, but in reality, that means that they would have to stand there and yell with their own voice for hours on end, which, of course, is going to get really tiring.”

Before the new policy, LaCroix used a microphone and a speaker to amplify himself. However, he said the policy hasn’t affected him too much. 

The implication of this policy came with researching how other universities in Florida deal with their preachers, as most college preachers do “tours” and speak at different universities across the state. 

Cavin said it was all about finding a way to mitigate the issue. The University of Florida combats this issue by having free speech zones in certain areas around campus, which limits the area where members of the public can speak freely. 

However, LaCroix returned to campus on Nov. 28 after three months of touring other college campuses. Although he didn’t have a microphone or megaphone to amplify himself, he stood for over four hours on campus yelling about his beliefs and what FGCU students should believe, too.

Before this, Lacroix was live on YouTube on Sept. 6 preaching that ‘“Jesus has a message for the living.” After that, he traveled to FIU, the University of Florida, FAU, FSW, USF and a few universities in Michigan. 

LaCroix returned to campus on Jan. 8 when students came back from winter break. 

Cavin said he and his Cabinet have been preparing for LaCroix to return, and have a few ideas on how to deter him. 

“We’re currently coming up with some plans for what we could do to try to, again, mitigate their impact,” Cavin said. “For example, putting up posters around them with resources that students could utilize if what he’s saying is affecting them, or messages of support from student government, or messages of condemnation, things like that.”

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About the Contributors
Tori Foltz
Tori Foltz, Executive Editor
Tori Foltz is a junior double majoring in political science and journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in interdisciplinary studies. She is from St. Petersburg, FL, and has always had a passion for writing. She has known she wanted to be a journalist since her first journalism class in her freshman year of high school. Her goal now is to be a political journalist. When she’s not writing in the newsroom or sending emails, you can find her spending her free time reading romance books, watching the Gilmore Girls, or hanging out with her friends.
Tim Belizaire
Tim Belizaire, Eagle News Assistant Photo Editor
Tim Belizaire is a junior majoring in journalism. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Cape Coral when he was 12. His goal is to either venture into photojournalism or investigative journalism. Tim spends his free time taking pictures or listening to Lana Del Rey for hours.

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    anonymousJan 29, 2024 at 2:37 pm

    I like what the preacher is saying. He is giving the saving gospel to the entire campus!