Answered Prayer! Professor Wins Pronoun Case
Shawnee State University Professor Dr. Meriwether recently won a court case over a student’s preferred pronouns in a huge win for freedom of speech.
From Center for Christian Virtue. Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, disciplined Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a longtime philosophy professor, over his use of gender pronouns. Now, to settle a legal case filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), university officials have agreed they may not dictate Dr. Meriwether’s use of pronouns in the classroom. They will also rescind their written warning in his file and pay $400,000 in damages, plus attorney fees.
This three-year legal battle began with two little words: “Yes, sir.”
One day in 2018, a male student raised his hand in Dr. Meriwether’s political philosophy class. Dr. Meriwether responded, “Yes, sir” as he had typically done with other students for years. He often referred to his students as “sir” or “ma’am,” or by a title like Mr. or Miss followed by their last name. The formality fosters an atmosphere of seriousness, mutual respect, and courtesy.
But after class, the student approached Dr. Meriwether, identified as a woman, and insisted on being referred to with feminine pronouns and titles. When Dr. Meriwether expressed reservations, the student became belligerent, threatening to get Dr. Meriwether fired if he didn’t give in to these demands.
Dr. Meriwether offered several different ways to accommodate the student while remaining true to his conscience. But Shawnee State demanded Dr. Meriwether use the student’s preferred pronouns or eliminate all sex-referencing terms from his vocabulary—for all students, at all times. If Dr. Meriwether didn’t comply, the university’s disciplinary action could have ended his career.
“Courage pays off,” said Aaron Baer, President of Center for Christian Virtue. “This First Amendment victory is a testament to the power of standing up for your convictions.”
With ADF’s help, Dr. Meriwether went to court. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Shawnee State had violated Dr. Meriwether’s free speech rights, sending the case back to the lower court. With this settlement, the case is now over.
“Shawnee State University and the state of Ohio were wrong to try to penalize Dr. Meriwether for his freedom of expression. Hopefully, this victory sends a clear message to every American that you don’t need to surrender your First Amendment freedoms just because you work for the State.”
“Once again, when Constitutional freedoms are under attack, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom stepped up to stand for liberty. There’s no one with a record of success in the courtroom like ADF, and CCV is grateful for their faithful service to our nation!”
Are you encouraged by this victory? Share this news to encourage others as we fight for free speech!
(From Center for Christian Virtue. Photo Credit: Canva)
Partner with Us
Intercessors for America is the trusted resource for millions of people across the United States committed to praying for our nation. If you have benefited from IFA's resources and community, please consider joining us as a monthly support partner. As a 501(c)3 organization, it's through your support that all this possible.