Ohio State University has agreed to pay $ 400,000 to one of its professors after he rebuked him for refusing to use student pronouns.
In 2018, Nicholas Maryweather, a professor of philosophy at Shawnee State University in southern Ohio, addressed a transgender student with the word “sir” when she raised her hand in class.
This prompted the university to launch consequences in the incident. It was discovered that Maryweather had created a “hostile environment” in the classroom.
The university issued a written warning to Meriwezer stating that he could be fired or fired without pay for violating the university’s non-discrimination policy.
Merewezer asked referring to all students by their self-identified gender and including in their curriculum a disclaimer stating that he did so only as part of “coercion” would be in line with university policy, and he was told that this would not be the case.
He also offered to call the student by the first or last legal name without the use of gender names, but continued to refuse to call the student a woman.
Merewezer then sued the university, but his case was dismissed by the federal district court for lack of law.
However, in 2020, a panel of three judges from the Sixth U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled that Merewezer was allowed to sue the school. writing in a 32-page opinion: “Traditionally, American universities have been beacons of intellectual diversity and academic freedom. They are proud to be forums where controversial ideas are discussed and debated. And they tried not to stifle the debate by choosing the parties. “
Judges, all nominated by Republicans, two nominated by Donald Trump, added: “But Shawnee has chosen a different path: he has punished a professor for speaking out on a very controversial issue. And it did so despite the constitutional protection afforded by the First Amendment.
“The district court rejected the professor’s lawsuits about freedom of speech and physical activity. We see everything differently and vice versa. “
The judges sent the lawsuit back to a lower court, where Merewezer could claim that his rights to freedom of speech and religion, as well as his right to due process under the 14th Amendment, had been violated and denied.
As a result of this case, the university last week agreed to pay Merivezer $ 400,000 in damages and lawyers.
In a separate statement, Shawnee University explained its “economic decision” to settle the case, saying: “Although we have decided to settle, we categorically deny that anyone in Shawnee deprived Dr. Merewezer of his rights to freedom of speech or freedom to practice his religion.” .
He added: “During this trial, it became clear that the case was used to promote different social and political agendas at the expense of the university and its students. These costs are best spent on fulfilling Shawnee’s mission in serving our students, families and society. ”