COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials from a small, public university in Ohio argue a federal court should dismiss a lawsuit by a professor who was rebuked for not addressing a transgender student using the student's preferred gender terms.
In a court filing this week, lawyers for Shawnee State University officials contend the language in question is part of Nicholas Meriwether's job responsibilities and isn't speech protected by the First Amendment.
Meriwether's lawsuit alleges officials at the southern Ohio school violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his religious beliefs as a Christian.
Meriwether received a written warning for violating the school's nondiscrimination policy and unsuccessfully challenged his reprimand in a grievance process. He argues he didn't discriminate and that he treated the student like "other biologically male students."