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Shawnee State University

School: Calling Trans Student ‘Sir’ Isn’t Free Speech



Shawnee State University philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether is suing the school after Shawnee State gave Nicholas, who’s Christian, a written warning when he refused to address a male-to-female transgender student as a lady, reported Campus Reform.

The professor’s lawsuit stated that, according to school policy, “all professors must refer to each student—both in and out of class— using whatever pronouns the student claims reflect his gender identity. They demand this even though the concept of gender identity is entirely subjective and fluid, even though the number of potential gender identities is infinite (with over one hundred different options currently available), and even though the number of potential pronouns has likewise multiplied in recent years.”

So if I were a particularly nasty and vindictive student who really wanted to stick it to my professor, I could purposely change my pronouns at will and then report a professor who mistakenly calls me the wrong one. Now you’re probably saying “oh but Shimshock, transgender people wouldn’t exploit the system.” Doesn’t matter. Same as Target’s restroom policy, allowing people to use men’s or women’s restrooms regardless of their anatomy, a policy like this opens up the door for predators and others with ill will by legislating along the lines of their subjective vision of reality.

And it does look like the student giving Professor Meriwether problems, Alena Bruening, has ill will. According to the lawsuit, after Meriwether told Alena he was “not sure he could comply with Bruening’s demand and that he was not sure students can dictate how professors must refer to them,” the student began “circling around [him]…getting in his face in a threatening fashion” and said “then I guess this means I can call you a cunt.”

Alena then reportedly promised to see Meriwether fired if the professor did not meet the student’s demands. The professor has sued the school after Shawnee State issued him a warning, but the school argues that Meriwether’s use of “sir” isn’t protected by the First Amendment and wants the the case to be dismissed.


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