Last updated on March 27, 2021
The 6th Circuit rules that Shawnee State University violated a professor’s free speech and free expression rights by punishing him for refusing to use a trans student’s preferred pronouns. More lawfare ahead.
Apparently a professor’s socratic method (and his religious beliefs) trumps gender expression and public accommodation keeps bigotry in a bathroom closet. Poor Socrates didn’t account for the priggishness of minor theocrats.
— John Doe (@fedjudges) March 26, 2021
Two Trump judges, joined by a GWB judge, rule that a college violated a professor's free speech and free exercise rights by punishing him for refusing to use a trans student's preferred pronouns. They say the policy "stifles a professor’s viewpoint on a matter of public import." https://t.co/hMxEtJE6cC
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) March 26, 2021
Can a white professor who repeatedly uses the n-word in class while expressing his views that Black people are intellectually inferior be punished under the 6th Circuit logic? I’d think not—racial equality is also “a hotly contested matter of public concern”! Really, what isn’t?
But the 6th Circuit says: No, rejecting a trans student’s identity is merely an expression of opinion on a “matter of public concern”!
The yearslong battle started after Nicholas Meriwether refused to address a transgender student at Shawnee State University using “she/her” pronouns.
Shawnee State University officials have punished a philosophy professor, Dr. 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.) Although Dr. Meriwether offered to use the student’s first or last name instead, neither the student nor the university was willing to accept that compromise, choosing instead to force the professor to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions.
Student Alena Bruening filed a complaint against the Shawnee State University academic earlier this year after he objected to calling her “miss” or “she.”
He instead offered to refer to Bruening by her first name.
In each instance Meriwether chose passive-aggressively to single out the student as a person “other” than the others in the class, for example there could be Mr. or Miss, but no honorific for Bruening, which if he used her first name, others would get to be be referred to with their binary honorific.
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