Professor Who Refused to Use Preferred Pronouns Awarded $400K
A professor at an Ohio university won a $400,000 settlement after he was reprimanded four years ago for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronouns.
Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, received a warning in 2018 for not referring to a transgender student by her preferred pronouns, with administrators telling him to change the way he addresses such students “to avoid further corrective actions.”
The written warning stemmed from an incident in which Meriwether called a transgender student “sir.” When the student asked Meriwether to use feminine pronouns, he refused saying that his “sincerely held religious beliefs prevented him from communicating messages about gender identity that he believes are false.”
Meriwether filed a lawsuit against Shawnee State over the disciplinary actions taken against him, saying the school had violated his First Amendment rights, due process, the state Constitution, and his employment contract.
After an appeals court found that Meriwether’s rights were violated, Shawnee State agreed to settle. The professor will receive $400,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and his prior warning has been expunged.