An Ohio magistrate has recommended that Dr. Nicholas Meriwether’s lawsuit against Shawnee State University (previously discussed) be dismissed. Meriwether had sued when it punished him after he refused to address a biologically male student with a female title — though he did agree to use only a last name.
“Speech by a government employee is protected under the First Amendment only if the speech was made ‘as a citizen’ while addressing ‘a matter of public concern,’” Litkovitz’s recommendation filing reads. “A government employee’s speech is made ‘as a citizen’ and is protected under the First Amendment only when the speech is not ‘pursuant to [the employee’s] duties.’”
That’s an awkward justification, because Meriwether was not punished for making what he claimed was protected speech. Instead, he was being required by the government to have certain content in his speech — content that conveyed a particular ideological view.
The ADF lawyers helping Meriwether said they’ll object on that basis: Read more
As noted at the Religion Clause, John Kluge has sued Brownsburg Community school district after he lost his job because he refused to call students by their “preferred names.” The school had allowed him to use last names for some time, but apparently decided that wasn’t good enough.
This is similar to the case of Peter Vlaming, a high school teacher fired for refusing to use opposite-gender pronouns (though he did use preferred names), and Dr. Nicholas Meriwether who Read more
Peter Vlaming, a French teacher at West Point High School in Virginia, was recently fired for refusing to use male pronouns when addressing a female student:
While Vlaming conceded to referring to the student by [her] male name, he refrained from addressing [her] by any identifying pronoun, the Times-Dispatch said.
This sounds much like the situation with Shawnee State University and Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, who was fired not for what he said, but for what he refused to say. In both cases, the reports indicate Read more
Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, has filed a lawsuit against his school because it requires faculty to address students by the students’ “preferred pronoun.” As announced by the ADF, which is representing Meriwether:
In January, during a political philosophy class he was teaching, Meriwether responded to a male student’s question by saying, “Yes, sir.” Meriwether responded in this fashion because he refers to all his students as “sir” or “ma’am” or by a title (Mr. or Miss, for example) followed by their last name to foster an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect.
The student’s sensibilities were so offended he shouted vulgarities at the professor and threatened to get him fired.
Ultimately, the school accused him of creating a “hostile” environment and placed a warning in his file — a warning that he must call the students by their chosen pronouns.
Meriwether cannot do so, because he said that would violate his religious beliefs: Read more