While Democrats have dominated college and university campuses and faculty lounges for decades, the party’s uber-left faction is increasingly prominent, as evidenced by the insane ‘wokeness’ permeating staff policies and classroom curriculum.
But the rise of the nonsensical has also lead to an increase in pushback, which is gaining more traction the more outrageous the far left becomes.
As noted by The Daily Wire, a professor from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, who refused to utilize the ‘preferred pronouns’ of a biological male student identifying as a female has won a large settlement from his employer as well as an agreement that he’ll never have to engage in such lunacy as long as he is employed there.
Instead of using the preferred pronouns, Prof. Nicholas Meriwether refused referred to the student masculinely, calling him “sir” because his evangelical Christian beliefs dictated he do so.
“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,” Meriwether wrote in his lawsuit against the school after he was disciplined over the incident.
The lawsuit also says that Meriwether addresses students as “sir” or “Miss” to show respect,” The Daily Wire previously reported:
Cincinnati.com reported that when they met after class, Meriwether said the student circled Meriwether threateningly and compared the professor’s refusal to use the student’s preferred pronouns to someone calling him a “c***.”
According to Heavy.com, the student complained twice to the university, prompting a Title IX investigation. Heavy.com also noted that Meriwether said he would address the student using the student’s last name.
Shawnee State University started a Title IX investigation, deciding Meriwether had violated the school anti-discrimination policy when he refused to call the student by the student’s preferred pronouns. The university issued a written rebuke.
A lower court tossed Meriwether’s lawsuit in February 2020, noting, “Plaintiff’s refusal to address a student in class in accordance with the student’s gender identity does not implicate broader societal concerns and the free speech clause of the First Amendment under the circumstances of this case.”
In addition, the court ruled that Meriwether was not forced to use certain speech because he’d been given the option of removing all gendered language from his classroom:
Meriwether had attempted to compromise. He said he called his students by either “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last name. He offered to call the transgender student simply by their last name. The court said this was still discrimination and suggested Meriwether call all students by their last name. Meriwether refused, so the court concluded he had not been forced to express a view with which he disagreed and claimed pronouns and titles are not the same as expressing a belief.
An appeals court, however, ruled in March 2021 that his suit could continue.
“A district court previously dismissed Meriwether’s lawsuit for lack of standing. Friday’s decision by a three-judge panel from the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals revives the lawsuit and sends it back to a lower court where Meriwether can make his argument that his First Amendment rights of free speech and religion and his 14th Amendment right to due process were violated,” CNN reported at the time.
The university and the professor have now settled the issue. Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal nonprofit that represented Meriwether, released a statement saying that the university “agreed to pay $400,000 in damages and Meriwether’s attorneys’ fees. Additionally, considering the 6th Circuit’s ruling, the university is rescinding the written warning it issued Meriwether in June 2018.”
Further, “the university has agreed that Meriwether has the right to choose when to use, or avoid using, titles or pronouns when referring to or addressing students. Significantly, the university agreed Meriwether will never be mandated to use pronouns, including if a student requests pronouns that conflict with his or her biological sex,” ADF noted.
“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,” ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham noted in the press release.
“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. We’re pleased to see the university recognize that the First Amendment guarantees Dr. Meriwether—and every other American—the right to speak and act in a manner consistent with one’s faith and convictions.”