University Professor Receives Payout After Refusing To Use Trans Student's Preferred Pronouns
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Featured Image Credit: Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom/Shawnee State University
A university professor has received a large payout after he was rebuked for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronouns.
Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor and evangelic Christian at Shawnee State University in southern Ohio, was given a written warning that he could be sacked or suspending without pay for violating the university’s nondiscrimination policy.
Back in 2018, a trans student raised her hand in class, at which point the professor addressed her as 'sir'.
Check out a clip of the professor discussing his case below:
The university launched an investigation into Meriwether's apparent error. He offered to refer to her, and other students, by their first or last legal name without any aspect of gender, but refused to recognise her self-identified gender.
Meriwether was then accused of creating a 'hostile environment' in the classroom, at which point he faced disciplinary action.
In response, Meriwether launched a federal lawsuit against the university, alleging his constitutional rights had been violated by making him speak in a way which goes against his religious beliefs.
As per NBC News, the lawsuit stated: "To accede to these demands would have required Dr. Meriwether to communicate views regarding gender identity that he does not hold, that he does not wish to communicate, and that would contradict (and force him to violate) his sincerely held Christian beliefs."
Three years later, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of Meriwether, and the university has been forced to pay him a whopping $400,000.
Travis Barham, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the professor, said: "This case forced us to defend what used to be a common belief - that nobody should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep their job.
"Dr. Meriwether went out of his way to accommodate his students and treat them all with dignity and respect, yet his university punished him because he wouldn’t endorse an ideology that he believes is false."
In addition to the money, Meriwether was also given assurance from the university that he'd 'never be mandated to use pronouns, including if a student requests pronouns that conflict with his or her biological sex.'
In a statement last week, Shawnee State 'adamantly' denied 'depriving Dr. Meriwether of his free speech rights or his rights to freely exercise his religion'.
Dr. Nicholas Meriwether shares with @gregkellyusa on @newsmax that state universities are losing their ability to provide an environment where the free exchange of dialogue, thoughts, and ideas are embraced⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RToLG8zs7K— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) April 21, 2022
The university said: "We continue to stand behind a student’s right to a discrimination-free learning environment as well as the rights of faculty, visitors, students and employees to freely express their ideas and beliefs.
"Over the course of this lawsuit, it became clear that the case was being used to advance divisive social and political agendas at a cost to the university and its students.
"That cost is better spent on fulfilling Shawnee State’s mission of service to our students, families and community."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers