A university in Ohio will pay a professor $400,000 years after disciplining him for using the wrong pronouns when addressing a student.
Shawnee State University punished Nicholas Meriwether in 2018 for addressing a female transgender student as “sir.”
Meriwether had offered to use the student’s preferred name, instead of feminine pronouns and titles.
The university said the philosophy professor had created a “hostile environment” by not using the student’s preferred pronouns.
The university gave Meriwether a written warning and said he could be fired or suspended without pay if he violated the university’s nondiscrimination policy.
The professor argued that he would be contradicting his Christian beliefs by using the student’s preferred pronouns and that the university was violating his rights.
In 2021, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that Shawnee State violated Meriwether’s first amendment rights.
As part of a settlement, the university has agreed to pay Meriwether $400,000 for damages and attorneys’ fees.
In addition, the university will rescind the warning it issued to the professor and will give the professor the right to choose which titles or pronouns to use when addressing students.