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Ohio Professor Beats Cancel Culture, First Amendment Win

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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.



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