Shawnee State University agreed to pay a philosophy professor $400,000 after he sued the school for being written up for not using the right pronouns for a student.
Nicholas Meriwether claimed that the school violated his freedom of speech, freedom of religion and rights to due process when he refused to use a transgender student’s pronouns.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, during class in 2018, Meriwether referred to a transgender student as “sir.” After class, the student asked him to refer to her using female pronouns and titles. The professor compromised and used her last name but accidentally called her “mister.”
The student filed a complaint and a Title IX investigation found that Meriwether violated the school’s nondiscrimination policy. He received a written warning that was placed in his personnel file.
Meriwether then filed a lawsuit against the school and in 2021 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that the university violated his free speech rights.
In addition to the money, Meriwether will not have to use pronouns that were assigned at birth, even if a student requests him to do so. He also has the right to avoid using titles and pronouns when referring to students.