Ohio Professor Faced Punishment for Refusing to Call Student ‘Miss’ — Now He’s Suing the University

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

An Ohio professor is accusing his school of discrimination after it forced him to use a student’s preferred title of “Miss” even when he offered to instead use the student’s first or last name without using titles at all.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Shawnee State University professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, argued that the school forced its professor to choose between exercising his First Amendment right to religious freedom and bowing to its “own orthodoxy.”

“Universities are meant to be a marketplace of ideas, not an assembly line for one type of thought, but apparently, Shawnee State has ignored that foundational truth,” ADF senior counsel Travis Barham said.

He added:

“The university refused to consider any solutions that would respect the freedoms of everyone involved. It instead chose to impose its own orthodoxy on Dr. Meriwether under threat of further punishment if he doesn’t relinquish his rights protected by the First Amendment.”

The dilemma was just one of many that arose as schools started enforcing standards on how people addressed students and faculty who identified as transgender.

Earlier this year, a teacher argued that his public high school violated his right to religious freedom when it forced him to use preferred names and pronouns for his students. Similar to Meriwether, teacher John Kluge was unable to use just part of a student’s name when addressing them.

Meriwether even offered to use the student’s preferred name, Alena, but the student insisted he use “Miss” and “she,” The Washington Times reported.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The school reportedly said it was reviewing Meriwether’s complaint and that it valued “freedom of expression.”

“We value freedom of expression by students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campus — and provide an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment,” the university’s director of communications, Elizabeth Blevins, said.

While it’s unclear how a court will handle Meriwether’s claims, the Trump administration has already taken steps to combat a Title IX interpretation that would include gender identity in its consideration of sex-based discrimination.

Most recently, a leaked memo revealed that the Trump administration considered defining gender based on biological characteristics rather than an individual’s preference.

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Phoenix
Member

As if a professor even has time to remember each students preference in gender. If the professor was able to remeber last names then that’s pretty cool. One professor used to call me by the wrong first name all semester – i corrected him twice. After that, i guess I was just “Lisa” MWF for 75 minutes. Big deal.

Good luck to the professor – there should be tolerance on both ends of that equation.

Screwtape
Member

Good. Leftist orthodoxy should never take precedence over constitiutional rights nor the free exchange of ideas, which is what universities are supposed to encourage.

Order and hierarchy are also important, otherwise why are the students self-teaching?

Screwtape
Member

Newsflash to the “party of science”: it’s not just genitalia, it’s DNA. Giving delusion precedence over reality is not science. It’s indulging mental illness and illogical.

Years before this whole transgender furor I joked that I identify as a female spotted owl and demanded that I receive hundreds of acres of old-growth forest and newspapers spread for me to use as a bathroom. I was joking, but the deranged are not.

Suppose I identified as a werewolf. Can I murder and eat people?

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