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Professor Sues Shawnee State University Over Transgender Pronoun Use

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Non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom has sued Shawnee State University on the behalf of a professor after he was disciplined for refusing to use a pronoun preferred by a transgender student.

The federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Ohio alleges university of forcing the philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether “to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions.”

During a political philosophy class in January 2017, Meriwether used “sir” referring to a transgender student, prompting her to confront the professor after the class and file a formal complaint.

The suit alleges university of threatening the professor with “corrective actions” and placing a written warning in his personnel file despite Meriwether agreeing to use the first or last name of the student.

“Public universities have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold,” counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, said.

“This isn’t just about a pronoun; this is about endorsing an ideology. The university favors certain beliefs, and it wants to force Dr. Meriwether to cry uncle and endorse them as well. That’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the process the university has used to get to this point. We are asking the court to order the university to respect Dr. Meriwether’s freedoms.”

The suit is demanding the university to revoke the written warning and respect the “freedoms” of the professor.

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