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University Agrees to Pay Professor After It Disciplined Him for Refusing to Use Student's Preferred Pronouns

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Shawnee State University settled with Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at the school, after he was disciplined for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a transgender student.

According to The Hill, he sued the school over its disciplinary actions arguing his First Amendment rights were violated along with due process, the Ohio state Constitution and his contract with the school.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled the school violated Meriwether’s First Amendment rights.

The university agreed to settle with the professor following the ruling.

Meriwether will receive $400,000 in damages and his attorneys’ fees, as The Hill reported.

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The school said in a statement, “After four years of litigation, Shawnee State University made an economic decision to settle the Meriwether case.”

It continues, “Though we have decided to settle, we adamantly deny that anyone at Shawnee State deprived Dr. Meriwether of his free speech rights or his rights to freely exercise his religion.”

Shawnee State claimed it “followed its policy and federal law that protects students or any individual from bigotry and discrimination.”

The university added, “We continue to stand behind a student’s right to a discrimination-free learning environment as well as the rights of faculty, visitors, students and employees to freely express their ideas and beliefs.”

The statement argues the case “was being used to advance divisive social and political agendas at a cost to the university and its students.”

Travis Barham, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement responding to the settlement.

“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,” Barham said.

He continued, “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.”

Burham explained they are “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.”

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Meriwether joined Tucker Carlson last year after he won his case.

“I do think we are losing our academic freedom. We’re losing our freedom to disagree,” Meriwether said.

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He added, “And unless and until people stand up to it I just think it’s going to get much much worse.”

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