Shawnee State: Professors must speak contrary to their beliefs or be punished

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Evangelical Professor Disciplined for Refusing to Use Feminine Pronouns for Transgender Student

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Travis Barham, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Meriwether, argued that "tolerance is a two-way street." "Universities are meant to be a marketplace of ideas, not an assembly line for one type of thought, but apparently, Shawnee State has ignored that foundational truth. The university refused to consider any solutions that would respect the freedoms of everyone involved," Barham said. "It instead chose to impose its own orthodoxy on Dr. Meriwether under threat of further punishment if he doesn't relinquish his rights protected by the First Amendment." ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, added that public universities "have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don't hold." "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," Langhofer said.

Ohio professor sues school, doesn't want to use transgender students' pronouns

Throughout the investigation and the grievance process that followed the warning, Meriwether said his constitutional rights were being violated in numerous communications with school officials. "I am a Christian. As such, it is my sincerely held religious belief, based on the Bible’s teachings, that God created human beings as either male or female, that this gender is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed,” Meriwether wrote. The school denied his grievances. “Do these freedoms supersede the rights of an individual, a student in this case, against discrimination by a public employee at a state-supported institution?" wrote Provost Jeffrey Bauer in his denial. "When provided with options to avoid discrimination and opposition to his religious beliefs, Dr. Meriwether chose to continue his disparate treatment of the student.” Meriwether says it was the school that refused other options he proposed, including the idea of putting a disclaimer on his syllabus that he was identifying people by their chosen pronouns as "under compulsion."