Universities should be places where reason and freedom of thought reign supreme, but they have fled from that ideal. Some are paying dearly for it.
All that Shawnee State University in Ohio had to do was respect a professor’s refusal to call a male student female and to use the student’s inaccurate “preferred pronouns.” Instead they tried to punish the professor, who then sued.
Now they owe him $400,000.
Shawnee State professor Nick Meriwether told FOX News’ America Reports about a student who “approached me after class and said that he wanted to be referred to as a female, and I tried to find an accommodation with the student. I was willing to use his proper name, a female proper name, and initially, the administration was willing to go along with that, but then the administration changed course and demanded that I defer to the ideology, that I refer to the student as a female and I simply could not do that.”
Meriwether called the university’s knee-jerk siding with the student an assault on his freedom of speech and religion.
“I believe that God created men and women, male and female. But also the idea that my speech could be coerced, could be compelled by the administration … The college classroom is to be a place of debate and discussion and freewheeling ideas. The university has no place in telling professors how they are to think with the students. It was a coercion of my freedom of speech.”
Shawnee State reportedly punished Meriwether in 2018 for not addressing the transgender student with the student’s preferred pronouns and stated that it was Meriwether’s job to use such deceptive language and he was therefore not protected by the First Amendment. Meriwether responded that officials at the university violated his rights when they compelled him to go against his Christian beliefs.
Meriwether was represented in court by Alliance Defending Freedom, and after a three-year legal battle with the university the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in 2021 that his rights had in fact been violated, Fox 11 reported.