Professor Sues University for Forcing Him to Use Transgender Pronouns

‘This isn’t just about a pronoun; this is about endorsing an ideology…’

Professors Sues Public University for Forcing Him to Use Student's Preferred Pronouns 1

Nicholas Meriwether

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Shawnee State University professor is suing the school after administration officials tried to force him to refer to a male student as a “she.”

Philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether was approached by a transgender male student, who asked to be referred to as “Miss” or “she.”

During his political philosophy class, Meriwether responded to the student’s question by saying, “Yes, sir.”

The transgender student demanded Meriwether use his preferred pronouns, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm filing suit on Meriwether’s behalf.


Meriwether declined on the basis of his religious convictions and offered to use the student’s first or last name instead, but the student became belligerent, getting in his face and saying, “Then I guess this means I can call you a c**t.”

Before the student left, he promised to get Meriwether fired for not agreeing to his demands.

The student filed a complaint with university officials, and instead of upholding Meriwether’s constitutional rights, the university formally charged him, saying Meriwether “effectively created a hostile environment” for the student.

The administration threatened “further corrective actions” if Meriwether did not comply to the student’s demands.

“Public universities have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a statement. “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.”

ADF said the public university is violating its contract with Meriwether, and by extension, its collective bargaining agreement with the union—all because of one student’s pronoun preference.

“Tolerance is a two-way street,” ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham said in a statement. “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. 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.”