As longs as the social justice warriors keep serving these stories up, we’re going to keep hitting them out of the park. It’s important because people need to be aware that such things are going on in their own communities and judge for themselves when election time rolls around. This case comes to us from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio where philosophy professor Nicolas Meriwether ran into a problem last year. One of his students, a male who “identifies” as a female, insisted that the professor refer to him as “ma’am” instead of sir. Disagreeing, the professor offered a compromise, saying he would address the student by name instead.
As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well. And the school soon caved and took the student’s side. (Washington Examiner)
The student was male but identified as female and wanted to be addressed as “ma’am” instead of “sir.” Meriwether offered a very reasonable compromise: He suggested calling the student by his name rather than agree to address him by an inaccurate pronoun.
According to the Kansas City Star, the student threatened to have Meriwether fired if he refused and went on to alert school officials. University officials told the professor he had to use transgender pronouns and said he had created a “hostile environment” for the distressed student. While Meriwether has not yet been fired, he did sue officials from the university. Now the professor is seeking damages, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.
So Professor Meriwether has not yet been fired but is being pressured by the school to fall in line with the transgender agenda. In turn, he’s going to court to not only keep his job but to defend his freedom of speech. This is one more in a growing collection of cases which will need to percolate up through the appeals process and, hopefully, eventually reach the Supreme Court for a decision.
The one reason this incident is both particularly galling and emblematic of the transgender agenda movement is the quibbling over mandatory pronouns. Had the professor taken a stand and insisted on referring to the student as either “sir” or “Mister Doe” (the student isn’t named in the article or suit), you might almost have some sympathy for him. That would be rather aggressive on the professor’s part when other socially acceptable options were available.
But Meriwether offered to address the student by name. How that creates a “hostile environment” remains a mystery. In fact, he could have simply taken to addressing all of the students by name and sans pronouns and avoided this whole mess. Or could he? It sounds like the transgender student was looking for a fight and would probably have insisted on being called Ma’am anyway just to create a “crisis” in the classroom.
Best of luck to Professor Meriwether. He’s being represented by The Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group defending other professionals in similar free speech cases. You can read more about their efforts on his behalf here.