“transgender student threatened to sue Meriwether after he proposed calling the student by surname alone”
Is this really the future of higher education? Endless legal battles over pronoun usage?
The College Fix reports:
Public university says it can threaten professor for using wrong pronoun: ‘teaching method’ not protected
The Supreme Court’s four conservative justices recently denounced the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for misapplying its precedent on constitutional protection for the speech of public employees – in that case, a high school football coach who prayed on the field after games.
The same Supreme Court precedent, known as Garcetti, is at issue in a lawsuit by a professor who was threatened by his public university for refusing to call a male student “Miss.”
Shawnee State University responded in court earlier this month, arguing that Nicholas Meriwether had no right to ignore plainly stated instructions to refer to students with their preferred pronouns.
“The ‘speech’ he engaged in was actually nothing more than his own, personally defined ‘teaching method’, which is not speech on a matter of public concern” based on the controlling precedent of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, says the motion to dismiss.
By “teaching method,” the university refers to Meriwether’s practice of referring to students as “mister” or “miss,” as well as “sir” or “ma’am,” in more than two decades of teaching. He told the court last fall that this is intended to “foster an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect that is befitting the college classroom.”
The transgender student threatened to sue Meriwether after he proposed calling the student by surname alone. His dean also banned him from even using “self-asserted gender identity” pronouns if he put a “disclaimer” in the syllabus saying he was being compelled to do so, Meriwether claims.
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