Prof threatened for not using student's preferred gender

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Chris Woodward (

gender confusion 3A Christian professor is taking his employer to court after being reprimanded for not using female titles and pronouns in conversations with a gender-confused male student.

As a result, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio-based Shawnee State University on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Meriweather.

In January – during a political philosophy class he was teaching – Meriwether responded to a male student's question by saying, "Yes, sir."

The student later approached Meriweather to tell him that he is transgender, identifies as a woman and wants to be addressed with female pronouns. When Meriwether did not instantly agree, ADF says the student became belligerent and filed a complaint against Meriweather.

Although Dr. Nicholas Meriwether offered to use the student's first or last name instead, neither the student nor the university was willing to accept that compromise, choosing instead to force the professor to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions.

In fact, ADF maintains that the university formally charged Meriweather, saying that "he effectively created a hostile environment" for the student.

Subsequently, officials placed a written warning in his personnel file and threatened "further corrective actions" against him – unless he articulates the university's ideological message.

"Public universities have no business compelling professors to express beliefs that they don't hold," argued ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer. "This isn't just about a pronoun – this is about endorsing an ideology. The university favors certain beliefs, and it wants to force Dr. Meriweather to endorse those, as well. That's not constitutional. We're simply asking the court to respect Dr. Meriweather's freedoms."

Meriwether v. The Trustees of Shawnee State University is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.


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