Professor Files Lawsuit Against University Requirement to Use Transgender Labels

 

Professor Nicholas Meriwether has finally had enough.

In June 2018, a warning was put in this professor’s personnel file because he refused to refer to a transgender student, who was biologically male and called himself Alena Breuning, with female personal pronouns.

But Ms. Bruening demanded to be referred to as “Miss” and “she” in accordance with the student’s gender identity, filing a complaint against her professor earlier this year for not accommodating her wishes.

Shawnee State University, a public school in Ohio, requires its staff to refer to a transgender student by his or her preferred gender pronouns.

In spite of the Shawnee State University’s policy, Professor Meriwether, who is an evangelical Christian, filed a lawsuit with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom. They are arguing that his First Amendment rights are being violated. The school and Prof. Meriwether have tried to negotiate a resolution to this issue, but have fallen short of working it out.

In protesting the professor’s lawsuit, another publication, Think Progress, discounts his legal team’s claims as an effort to “discredit the legitimacy of transgender identities”:

They brazenly assert that ‘the concept of gender identity is entirely subjective and fluid,’ that ‘the number of potential gender identities is infinite (with over one hundred different options currently available),’ and that ‘the number of potential pronouns has likewise multiplied in recent years.’ It further claims that “some sources say” a person’s gender identity can be ‘affected by mood swings’ or ‘change depending on which friend you’re with.’

The publication describes Professor Meriwether’s communication style with students:

Meriwether, as it turns out, is very particular about how he communicates with students in his class. Deploying a formal Socratic method, Meriwether always addresses students using formal titles (Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss) and ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am.’ He believes this is an ‘important pedagogical tool’ to foster ‘an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect.’

We have to find a way to encourage and support not only professors in universities, but all conservatives who find these demands unconstitutional and oppressive. Pushing back against these obscene demands is the only way to stop this country from being swallowed up by the Progressive agenda.

In the close of their article, Think Progress made the following comment:

ADF appears to hope that Meriwether’s case will be a vehicle for them to impose a double standard that justifies discrimination against transgender people that wouldn’t otherwise be tolerated against other groups. ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer said in a statement, ‘This isn’t just about a pronoun; this is about endorsing an ideology.’

That is false. It’s about respecting people for who they are.

It’s too bad that respect doesn’t go both ways.

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I don’t know how teachers get through the maze these days – they can’t do anything right.  Are kids there to learn or to get their hackles up over every trivial, sniveling thing.  He should just call them by their first name and if crybaby wants to be called pink Popsicle, then just do it and move on to the lesson……shhesshh….

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I don’t know how teachers get through the maze these days – they can’t do anything right. Are kids there to learn or to get their hackles up over every trivial, sniveling thing. He should just call them by their first name and if crybaby wants to be called pink Popsicle, then just do it and move on to the lesson……shhesshh….

    I’m afraid I disagree, FSC. He feels strongly about his teaching style and about his religion, and I don’t think he should have to compromise either one. Principles do matter here. I respect him for making a stand; when we cave into these demands, we’re sometimes giving up too much.

    • #2
  3. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    What strikes me is the fundamental incoherence of the “debate”. If the argument was that it is a binary world but that certain individuals are mis-assigned one of these identities and would like to be addressed by the common term for the binary they now believe themselves to be (permanently), then the professor’s free speech claims would be problematic. Yes, he can be rude but having adopting a practice of formal address in his classroom, his employer can enforce a rule of decorum.

    But this is not what is at issue. The transgender activists are claiming that reality is whatever they choose it to be in the moment and that sanctions can be applied against someone who does denies this subjective reality. This is not a standard of decorum it is silencing someone who offends you. It is subjugating the minds of anyone around you who does not accept the superiority of your perceptions. No legal standard can be crafted that forewarns anyone of the conduct — other than abject submission — that is lawful. That is the problem.

    • #3
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    They brazenly assert that ‘the concept of gender identity is entirely subjective and fluid,’ that ‘the number of potential gender identities is infinite (with over one hundred different options currently available),’ and that ‘the number of potential pronouns has likewise multiplied in recent years.’ It further claims that “some sources say” a person’s gender identity can be ‘affected by mood swings’ or ‘change depending on which friend you’re with.’

    Take them at their word.

    His defense should be that at the moment he was speaking to them, his perception of their gender identity momentarily flashed, then switched back when he was done.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    It is subjugating the minds of anyone around you who does not accept the superiority of your perceptions. No legal standard can be crafted that forewarns anyone of the conduct — other than abject submission — that is lawful. That is the problem.

    Precisely! A very good distinction to make @rodin. It can be so arbitrary and offensive, and no one is at all interested. To say that a student has this kind of control over a professor is absurd and outrageous.

    • #5
  6. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Although honestly, I’m still a big fan of “Your mental illness is not my problem”.

    There was a time when society organized itself around the normal, and the abnormal had to accommodate themselves.  Now society is determined to let the abnormal define the organization, and the normal are forced to accommodate themselves.

    This won’t end well.

    • #6
  7. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Why can’t the school set up its own standards of conduct? He doesn’t have a right to be employed by them? They have a right to create the teaching environment they percieve to be best for their students. If you worked for McDonalds and they told you to address customers by their preferred gender and you didn’t you’d get fired wouldn’t you?

    When the Teacher is in class he is on the schools time. Now if they were planning on firing him for not subscribing to their pronoun policy outside of class I would think he has a case.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Why can’t the school set up its own standards of conduct? He doesn’t have a right to be employed by them? They have a right to create the teaching environment they percieve to be best for their students.

    First of all, he didn’t hire under those terms, @valiuth. They are now asking him to behave in a way that betrays his religion. And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands. I think you’re just being argumentative.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    There was a time when society organized itself around the normal, and the abnormal had to accommodate themselves. Now society is determined to let the abnormal define the organization, and the normal are forced to accommodate themselves.

    This. The biggest problem is that they insist that abnormal is normal, and that normal is abnormal. Sigh.

    • #9
  10. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    We have to find a way to encourage and support not only professors in universities, but all conservatives who find these demands unconstitutional and oppressive. Pushing back against these obscene demands is the only way to stop this country from being swallowed up by the Progressive agenda.

    Stop funding these institutions. Withhold any funds to alumni associations or athletic programs, and state the reason why. Stop sending your children to these schools. Promote accreditation through online universities. Keeping filing law suits. Keep posting stories like this on social media. Stop patronizing businesses who openly promote the militant LGBT agenda. 

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Although honestly, I’m still a big fan of “Your mental illness is not my problem”.

    There was a time when society organized itself around the normal, and the abnormal had to accommodate themselves. Now society is determined to let the abnormal define the organization, and the normal are forced to accommodate themselves.

    This won’t end well.

    They are entitled to their delusions. They are not entitled to everyone else participating in them.

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Susan,

    This is why I reduce the complexity and simply term all of this as “sexual schizophrenia” because that’s what it is. Professor Meriwether is a university professor, not a psychiatrist. He should not be required to be endlessly held hostage to someone who may claim the “right” to be referred to by some wholly artificial pronoun at any moment. Professor Meriwether’s job is to teach not to provide free psychiatric services to someone who is deeply unbalanced.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I’m glad to see this. I believe the gender-fantasist movement is toxic and corrosive, and more serious than its silliness would suggest. It should be countered enthusiastically and humorously, but firmly.

    • #13
  14. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed. 

    I maybe being argumentative but you aren’t actually answering my questions. It even addressing the questions in play. Rather you dismiss the issue blithely, because you dont respect the transgendered students opinions. No need to consider their arguments, which is exactly what you always accuse them of doing to your own in these cases. 

     

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed.

    I maybe being argumentative but you aren’t actually answering my questions. It even addressing the questions in play. Rather you dismiss the issue blithely, because you dont respect the transgendered students opinions. No need to consider their arguments, which is exactly what you always accuse them of doing to your own in these cases.

     

    I did answer your questions, @valiuth; you just didn’t like my answer. I have news for you; the students are rarely the customers. With federal funding of universities, research, and scholarships, we are the customers. I do not dismiss their opinions “blithely”; I am a strong believer in everyone’s entitlement to their opinions. They are not entitled to tell me or anyone else what to think or how to speak. I even have a certain level of compassion to these students, since I believe they have a mental disorder; that also doesn’t entitle them to special treatment.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Stop funding these institutions. Withhold any funds to alumni associations or athletic programs, and state the reason why. Stop sending your children to these schools. Promote accreditation through online universities. Keeping filing law suits. Keep posting stories like this on social media. Stop patronizing businesses who openly promote the militant LGBT agenda. 

    I would like to put this up in neon lights, @brianwatt! Every single point! Thank you.

    • #16
  17. Brian Watt Inactive
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed.

    I maybe being argumentative but you aren’t actually answering my questions. It even addressing the questions in play. Rather you dismiss the issue blithely, because you dont respect the transgendered students opinions. No need to consider their arguments, which is exactly what you always accuse them of doing to your own in these cases.

    If students demanded that professors recognize that the Earth is flat should professors be compelled to agree and acknowledge that it is flat?

    • #17
  18. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Since, in the modern social construct, one’s “gender” may change depending upon one’s mood or companions it seems the only totally acceptable solution that avoids offending would be for the changeable gender person to wear a sign around the neck indicating their preferred “gender” of the moment.

    Wouldn’t that solve the dilemma for everyone concerned? 

    • #18
  19. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Do what we do.  Support Hillsdale College.

    • #19
  20. Bunwick Chiffswiddle Member
    Bunwick Chiffswiddle
    @Kephalithos

    Instead of relying on a free-exercise argument, Dr. Meriwether should simply say, “When I assign students titles and pronouns, I do so on the basis of sex — not gender. Now, extract your grubby, despotic hands from my brain.”

    I hate to beat a dead horse, but, as long as we conflate the words gender and sex, this problem will continue to haunt us.

    • #20
  21. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Why can’t the school set up its own standards of conduct?

    Because they are government funded.  

    • #21
  22. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Why can’t the school set up its own standards of conduct? He doesn’t have a right to be employed by them? They have a right to create the teaching environment they percieve to be best for their students. If you worked for McDonalds and they told you to address customers by their preferred gender and you didn’t you’d get fired wouldn’t you?

    When the Teacher is in class he is on the schools time. Now if they were planning on firing him for not subscribing to their pronoun policy outside of class I would think he has a case.

    If this were a private college, I’d agree. Things change when taxpayers are forced to support it. And the Left has a long history of bullying colleges on just those grounds. (See Hillsdale College, which, even after refusing all federal funding in order to avoid government compelled policies, was still forced to comply because some of their students received taxpayer funded aid. Hillsdale ultimately was forced to refuse admission to students receiving any form of government assistance in order to maintain academic sovereignty.)

    • #22
  23. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Why can’t the school set up its own standards of conduct? He doesn’t have a right to be employed by them? They have a right to create the teaching environment they percieve to be best for their students. If you worked for McDonalds and they told you to address customers by their preferred gender and you didn’t you’d get fired wouldn’t you?

    When the Teacher is in class he is on the schools time. Now if they were planning on firing him for not subscribing to their pronoun policy outside of class I would think he has a case.

    It is a public (tax-funded) institution.

    Now, you can claim that a public university must not force a gender-binary, cis-normative view on the students – but should they force a harmless traditionalist they’ve hired (hired to mold the minds of said students) to abandon his traditional views and religious beliefs? Or how about – and this is where I’m going to get crazy – how about they inform the students that the world is chock-full of people who won’t buy into their transgender notions, and are going to address them by the usual pronouns and prefixes? How about they let them know that the professor’s class is a chance for them to earn the respect of one of those awful, cis-normative normies? Crazier still, what if the staff suggest to the students that they set about justifying their crazy, gender-swapping, gender-denying ideas (on their own time), instead of demanding that everyone else fall in line with their blind, fact-free fantasy life?

     

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I can just imagine interviewing a recent college graduate who presents me at the outset with a list of pronouns.

    I just can’t imagine hiring one.

    • #24
  25. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed.

    I maybe being argumentative but you aren’t actually answering my questions. It even addressing the questions in play. Rather you dismiss the issue blithely, because you dont respect the transgendered students opinions. No need to consider their arguments, which is exactly what you always accuse them of doing to your own in these cases.

    If students demanded that professors recognize that the Earth is flat should professors be compelled to agree and acknowledge that it is flat?

    Brian,

    What if the student demands respect for his belief that the earth is flat on Monday, on Tuesday the student claims the earth is a triangle, on Wednesday the student claims that the earth is a large mango, etc… Shall both the professor and the entire university be held hostage to the whim of a disturbed student or one that is just capricious?

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #25
  26. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    What stands out in the gender-diversity movement’s insistence on the use of specific pronouns is its insistence that explicit and positive verbal acknowledgement be given its adherents. This is distinct from normal social and professional injunctions against vulgarity, racist language, and other forms of unprofessional or intimidating conduct.

    There is no similar situation where an insistence is made that we “just say it,” that we give voice to something we may not believe in order to placate the demands of a privileged other. The First Amendment protects both the freedom to speak and the freedom to be silent. The young man who filed the complaint against Professor Meriwether insists, not merely that the Professor avoid referring to him by his actual, correct gender pronouns (male), but that the Professor speak the young man’s preferred pronouns.

    It’s hard for me to politely express the revulsion, the disgust, I feel when progressives engage in the thuggish, Stalinist tactic of forcing a false confession from a citizen who just isn’t willing to embrace the revolutionary “truth.”

    • #26
  27. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed.

    I maybe being argumentative but you aren’t actually answering my questions. It even addressing the questions in play. Rather you dismiss the issue blithely, because you dont respect the transgendered students opinions. No need to consider their arguments, which is exactly what you always accuse them of doing to your own in these cases.

    Seems to me that the opinion and respect arguments work both ways. Individuals can refer to themselves however they like, and the rest of us can respect the opinion of those individuals by not compelling them to adhere to traditional pronouns. Likewise, those who value traditional pronouns can use them, and individuals who disagree can respect that by not compelling them to abandon traditional pronouns. This strikes me as the simplest and fairest solution, and has the advantage of allowing maximum individual freedom (and less government coercion).

    • #27
  28. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    If students demanded that professors recognize that the Earth is flat should professors be compelled to agree and acknowledge that it is flat?

    It depends on how the earth feels.  On that particular day.

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):
    Crazier still, what if the staff suggest to the students that they set about justifying their crazy, gender-swapping, gender-denying ideas (on their own time), instead of demanding that everyone else fall in line with their blind, fact-free fantasy life?

    Love this. All of us, every single one of us, has to deal with some kind of limitation or other, whether it’s obvious or not. Our government has decided to accommodate those who need special help because some people really do require it. I am not going to accommodate someone just because he or she has a preference.

    • #29
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I disagree: essentially the students are determining what everyone else should do, and the university is caving in to their demands.

    Why is that so bad? The students are the customer. Why shouldn’t they make demands and have an expectation for the to be fulfilled? Or at least reasonably addressed.

    Students aren’t customers in any but the most reductive sense. 

    • #30
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