A college professor in Ohio will receive a $400,000 settlement from Shawnee State University after the school reprimanded him for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronouns.

In 2018, Nicholas Meriwether was teaching a philosophy class when he called on a transgender student and referred to the individual as “sir.” After the lecture, the student revealed that she identified as a woman and wanted the professor to use female pronouns.

Meriwether, who was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in the lawsuit, claimed that endorsing an ideology he believed to be false went against his Christian faith.

The student later complained to university officials and Meriwether received a written warning, revealing he could be fired or suspended without pay for violating university policy.

Meriwether was told calling the transgender student by their preferred pronouns was a part of his job and not First Amendment-protected speech. He argued that the university violated his rights.

“Shawnee State University officials punished philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman with feminine titles and pronouns (‘Miss,’ ‘she,’ etc.),” ADF stated in a press release.

“Although the philosophy professor offered to use any name the student requested, the university rejected that compromise, choosing instead to force the professor to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions and philosophical beliefs.”

In March 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit determined the university violated Meriwether’s First Amendment rights. More than a year later, Meriwether and his employer have reached a deal.

As part of his settlement, Shawnee State University will pay Meriwether $400,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. Meriwether will no longer be required to use pronouns and will have the right to use or avoid using pronouns or titles for students.

The university has also agreed to rescind the written warning that was issued to Meriwether when the incident first occurred.

Representationl. A courtroom. 12019/Pixabay