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Professor wins $400,000 lawsuit against university over pronouns

An Ohio professor won $400,000 after he sued a university over the academic institutions’ requirement that the professor use a student’s preferred pronouns.

“The student approached me after class and said he wanted to be called a woman and I tried to find accommodation with the student. I was willing to use his real name, feminine proper nouns, and the administration was initially willing to go along with that, but then the administration changed course and demanded that I submit to the ideology that I address the student as feminine and I just couldn’t do it,” Shawnee State University professor Nick Meriwether told America Reports.

Meriwether said the university’s request was an egregious attack on his freedom of speech and religious beliefs.

“I believe that God created men and women, male and female. But even the idea that my speech could be coerced could be coerced by administration… The college classroom is meant to be a place for debate and discussion and the free flow of ideas. The university has nothing to do with telling professors how to think about students. It was a constraint on my freedom of expression.”

Portsmouth, Ohio-based Shawnee State University reportedly fined Meriwether in 2018 for failing to address a transgender student using the student’s preferred gender pronouns. The university said it was Meriwether’s responsibility to use such language and therefore not a First Amendment protected language. Meriwether pushed back, arguing that university officials were violating his rights by forcing him to act against his Christian beliefs.

Professor Nicholas Meriwether smiles for the camera.
Professor Nicholas Meriwether sued Shawnee State University over the school’s requirement that professors should use a student’s preferred pronouns.
Alliance for the Defense of Freedom
Professor Nicholas Meriwether at Shawnee State University.
Meriwether argued the university’s request was an egregious attack on his freedom of speech and religious beliefs.
Alliance for the Defense of Freedom

Meriwether was supported and represented in court by Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF].

“After a three-year battle against the university, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reportedly ruled in 2021 that Meriwether’s rights had been violated,” Fox 11 reported.

Tyson Langhofer, the ADF attorney representing Meriwether in court, said hopefully this case sends a message to universities.

“It’s done and we hope it sends a message to all universities and professors that we shouldn’t force professors to say things they don’t believe in,” Langford said.

** ADVANCE PAYMENT FOR 15.-17. APRIL ** A student walks to class on the Shawnee State University campus March 16, 2006 in Portsmouth, Ohio. The 19-year-old university, where enrollment has grown 17.5 percent over the past 10 years to 3,800, expects to grow to 5,300 within the next few years. Plans are afoot to create one "motion absorption" Studio, where 3D digital characters and models are computer generated, a la the titular star of "King Kong." The school also helps develop local high-tech companies such as Yost Engineering, a downtown software company founded by a college graduate and a teacher so that graduates can stay and work in their home area.
Shawnee State University reportedly fined Meriwether in 2018 for failing to address a transgender student using the student’s preferred gender pronouns.
AP/David Kohl

https://nypost.com/2022/04/18/professor-wins-400k-lawsuit-against-university-over-pronouns/ Professor wins $400,000 lawsuit against university over pronouns

JACLYN DIAZ

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