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Pushback: College that demanded professor use fake pronouns loses lawsuit, must pay him $400K

A victory for free speech
A victory for free speech

Don’t comply: When in 2018 the public college Shawnee State University in Ohio tried to force philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether to use a student’s preferred female pronouns, even though the student was a biological male, Meriwether refused.

The school then performed “a formal investigation” which declared that Meriwether was creating “a hostile environment” for the student, simply because Meriwether refused to let that student force him to say things he disagreed with.

Shawnee State officials then placed a written warning in the professor’s file, demanding he change the way he addresses transgender students to avoid being fired or suspended without pay.

Rather than bow, Meriwether contacted the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a free speech law firm focused on protecting the first amendment rights of Americans. They sued, and have now won a big victory for freedom of speech.

As part of the agreement (pdf) announced Thursday, Shawnee State University will pay $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees to settle the federal lawsuit with Nicholas Meriwether, a professor at its humanities department.

In addition, the university acknowledges Meriwether’s right to choose when to use, or avoid using, titles or pronouns when referring to or addressing students, and pledges to never force him to use anyone’s preferred pronouns, including when a student requests pronouns that don’t align with his or her biological sex.

When the school tried to force Meriwether to use fake pronouns in 2018 under the absurd premise that not doing so created a hostile environment for the student, the school apparently didn’t notice that it was thus creating a hostile environment for Meriwether. Apparently, fair play for all doesn’t apply under these new speech rules.

In fact, the whole idea of “hostile environments” is insane. Free speech cannot exist if you worry about offending others. No one has the right to a “safe space.” And by demanding such a thing you are telling the world that you are simply close-minded, refusing to listen to dissenting opinions that might actually widen your horizons.

For a college to demand such a thing is counter to the founding principles of education. Any college that enforces such rules should be shut down. It is not only failing to teach its students properly, it is teaching them to be evil.

Congratulations to Meriwether for not backing down and for winning. With more such victories we might actually rescue our educational system from the trash heap.

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On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • wayne

    Jordan Peterson
    “Gotcha, Cathy Newman”

  • GaryMike

    I grew up in a era when the word “offend” didn’t trigger almost anybody (it was at the very beginning of the ‘craze’).

    Now, I live in the era of planning to use “offense” as a Kryptonite-like targeted death ray.

    Zap! See them fetal-like present!! Ha, ha!!!

  • BLSinSC

    GREAT – ANOTHER PRECEDENT for the Rule of COMMON SENSE! More should do this and soon this latest FAD will FADE! The LEFT is pushing this as far as they can, but when it comes back to bite them in the pocketbook they MIGHT take notice! There are restaurants for people who like fat, greasy cheeseburgers! I like a fat, greasy cheeseburger!! I don’t care for some kinds of foods that are featured in some restaurants so I don’t go there! I don’t go to a Sushi joint and DEMAND a fat, greasy cheeseburger! I have an affliction called COMMON SENSE! Thank goodness that the Court has some COMMON SENSE and vindicated the Professor!

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