University will pay out $400K in damages to end three-year legal battle
Professor Nicholas Meriwether at Shawnee State University cannot be forced to use someone’s preferred pronouns in violation of his Christian faith, following a settlement.
The public Ohio university must pay out $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees to settle the case with its English and humanities professor. The case began three years ago, with Meriwether (pictured) most recently winning in court last March.
The issue began when Shawnee State “punished Meriwether because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns,” Alliance Defending Freedom previously wrote. The professor had offered to call students by any name they chose as a compromise.
Meriwether’s attorneys at ADF announced the settlement on Thursday.
“As part of the settlement, the university has agreed that Meriwether has the right to choose when to use, or avoid using, titles or pronouns when referring to or addressing students,” the news release stated. “Significantly, the university agreed Meriwether will never be mandated to use pronouns, including if a student requests pronouns that conflict with his or her biological sex.”
“This case forced us to defend what used to be a common belief—that nobody should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep their job,” ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham said in a statement. “Dr. Meriwether went out of his way to accommodate his students and treat them all with dignity and respect, yet his university punished him because he wouldn’t endorse an ideology that he believes is false.”
“We’re pleased to see the university recognize that the First Amendment guarantees Dr. Meriwether—and every other American—the right to speak and act in a manner consistent with one’s faith and convictions,” Barham stated.
IMAGE: Alliance Defending Freedom