After a 2 year long court battle with Shawnee State University, professor Nick Meriwether won back his rights under the First Amendment.
A transgender student asked Meriwether to use “she/her” pronouns to address him in class. Meriwether declined. Meriwether was willing to call the student by his adopted proper name (i.e. a female name), but he would not agree to use female pronouns.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal advocacy nonprofit that represented the professor:
When Dr. Meriwether did not agree, the student became aggressive, circling around him, getting in his face in a threatening fashion, while telling him, “Then I guess this means I can call you a c**t.” Before walking away, the student promised to get Dr. Meriwether fired if he did not agree to the student’s demands.
The student filed a complaint with the University and the University demanded Meriwether comply with the student’s request.
Meriwether took the matter to court, alleging the University violated his freedom of speech and religion. A federal judge agreed, stating:
The First Amendment interests are especially strong here because Meriwether’s speech also relates to his core religious and philosophical believes…. If professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity.
As a result of the federal court decision, the University has settled with Meriwether. He will not be compelled to use students preferred pronouns. The University also agreed to pay him $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, as well as rescinding a disciplinary warning in his employment record.
Dr Nick Meriwether a professor at Shawnee State Uni Ohio has won $400,000 compensation for violating his First Amendment Rights.
The devout Christian had refused to use a transgender student's preferred she/her pronouns. The student said to him "I guess I can call you a cu**." pic.twitter.com/RNIS4L9lnR
— David Atherton (@DaveAtherton20) April 19, 2022
Define yourself & respect others is my mantra. But trans people often take it too far and forget the second part. This is a win for teachers who teach rather than just being PC babysitters. Good for the teacher to get a big win from refusing censorship.
— PhoenixRussell (@Ph0enixRuss3ll) April 19, 2022