Professor who refused to call student by preferred pronoun wins in federal court: ‘We need to stand up’

Professor’s lawyer: Sixth circuit recognized if government can police speech ‘it can essentially do almost anything it wants’

Fox News – 04/01/21

Nicholas Meriwether, a professor at Shawnee State University, explained to Fox News host Tucker Carlson why he sued the university after he was told he created a “hostile environment” by not calling a transgender student by the preferred pronoun on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

MERIWETHER: “Well, basically if I had not [sued], I would have been fired, I would have been terminated. That was one reason. It wasn’t the only reason. The other was as you say, as you just said, I think we need to stand up against it, and I do think that we are losing our academic freedom. We are losing our freedom to disagree, and until people stand up to it, I think it’s just going to get much, much worse much, much faster.

Meriwether was joined by his attorney, Kristen Waggoner with the Alliance Defending Freedom, who explained the importance of the legal precedent this case set.

WAGGONER: We won on both free speech and free exercise grounds, and the sixth circuit court of appeals said very clearly that the use of titles and pronouns is a part of a debate that this nation is engaging in right now, and that those terms are infused with great meaning. That it is not the government’s role to set the terms of that debate or weigh in on one side or the other. The court’s decision actually referenced what would happen if the government demanded ideological purity. It used examples like the government could then force a pacifist, for example, to have to support war. It could force a civil rights icon to criticize the freedom riders, or to even force a Christian to deny the existence of god. Those are examples that the sixth circuit itself recognized, and it basically said, if the government has that kind of power, it can essentially do almost anything it wants. That power is unlimited.

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