Commonwealth Policy Center

A professor at Shawnee State University in southern Ohio learned the hard way that freedom of speech and conscience isn’t always protected on college campuses. Dr. Nick Meriwether declined to called a man who identifies as a a woman by their preferred pronouns. Merriwether went to court to uphold his rights and was vindicated by the U.S. 6th Circuit last year. Shawnee University agreed to pay Meriwether $400,000 for damages. Shawnee had a policy affording rights of gender identity, which clearly ran afoul of the First Amendment. This case casts doubts on policies that purport to make gender identity a right. It also is a reminder to universities that they should be places of that welcome freedom of thought and religious conviction.