by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit Monday on behalf of a university professor who was punished by his employer for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun.
Nicolas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, referred to transgender female student as “sir” during his political philosophy class in January 2017, prompting the student to confront him after class and demand the use of female pronouns.
Meriwether resisted the student’s demands, causing the student to get “in his face in a threatening fashion” and call him a “c***” before filing a formal complaint with the university.
After conducting a formal investigation into the incident, the university rejected Meriwether’s offer to refer to the student solely by name and accused Meriwether of “creat[ing] a hostile environment.” Administrators then placed a warning in Meriwether’s personnel file and threatened “further corrective actions” unless he capitulated to the student’s demands.
University provost Jeffrey Bauer “openly laughed” at Meriwether’s claim that his religion precluded him from using the student’s preferred pronouns during a meeting held after the professor filed a complaint with his union, according to the suit.