My question involves civil rights in the State of: Florida
My question involves a situation that occurred to me at a Florida public state University. I am also a student at the University. I am trying to determine what the status of public property means for a public University and what circumstances could alter the freedoms granted in a "public forum."
The specific situation is explained here:
The specific situation involved me arriving to the campus in my vehicle and parking in one of the parking garages at the University. I decided to remain in the parking garage until a later time so that I would not arrive to my meeting too early. I noticed that our University's football team was practicing over at the nearby practice field, visible from the parking garage.
I had glanced and watched the team practice while in the garage. I did this for maybe 5 minutes before I was approached by someone who appeared to be an employee at the University for one of the buildings. He explained to me that the practice field was a private event and that I was not allowed to look at it.
I asked him if this parking garage was closed and whether or not this was public property. He would not answer any questions and asked to bring his supervisor over. When she arrived she basically said the same thing and asked me to leave. Feeling that I was being harassed by these individuals, I asked them under whose authority I was required to vacate the garage.
They explained that the football team coach mandated that the practices be private and that I must leave. She went on to explain that if I were standing on the sidewalk that is surrounding the perimeter of the practice field, even the sidewalk that is adjacent to a city street, and that if I were looking at the practice field, that I would be asked to leave. I said that is fine, but I am not "required" to leave as it is public property.
The argument eventually got circular when they attempted to argue that the practice field was privately owned (which it isn't, but that is besides the point), and even if it were, that doesn't change the fact I was standing in a parking garage.
While this was going on, a third individual, dressed in athletic like clothing started to yell "You need to get out of here!"
He started to make threats such as "you will loose access to football games, I will have you go through the judicial process, you will be arrested" -- things of that sort.
I asked this individuals name, which he declined to answer. He later went on to ask for mine, which I also declined. He argued "Why should I tell you my name, if you won't tell me yours" type argument, which left me with the impression of "Why would I subject myself to a random stranger who wont identify himself who seems to have this unilateral authority to tell me what I can and cannot do"
Again, no answer, except that at this point he pulled out his cell phone and said he was calling someone.
It was starting to get closer to my meeting time and because my pleasant time by myself in the garage in the nice cool weather with a hint of sun was being disrupted by these individuals, I decided to leave, but explained I was going to take photographs of them. Considering it being public property, I had every right to, and seeing that I was going to, he used his phone to block his face but I eventually got a photo of him and he got one of me too. I smiled.
The stripped down legal question is here:
What it all comes down to, is do these individuals have any authority to limit my right to be in what I consider a public forum since the parking garage is on public University property and it would be considered reasonable that because it is open for individuals to park in, that I should not be forced or harassed to leave it?
Furthermore, to make the scenario even more simpler, would the same principle apply if I were standing on a public University sidewalk or city sidewalk adjacent to the University property, that I would have to be subjected to not being there?
What, if anything, could police do, if one of us had called them? (They would call for me not leaving, I would argue they harassed me)