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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — An Ohio professor who was placed under investigation for declining to address a male student who identifies as female with feminine pronouns has filed suit, stating that he should not be forced to violate his Christian convictions.
Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, says that for many years, he has referred to his students as “mister” or “miss” or “sir” or “ma’am” as a way of teaching his students how to be respectful to each other, especially in environments where there is sharp disagreement over a controversial subject matter.
In January, during his political philosophy class, he responded to a male student’s question with a “Yes, sir,” but was approached by the student after class, who advised that he identifies as female and would prefer to be referred to with feminine pronouns.
According to the legal challenge, Meriwether thought for a moment and then told the student that he was not sure if he could comply with the request. The student consequently became angry and spouted a vulgarity in close proximity to Meriwether’s face. He allegedly threatened to have the professor fired if he did not refer to him as a woman.
Meriwether reported the incident to university officials, and was instructed by Roberta Milliken, the dean of the university’s college of arts and sciences, to refer to students by their last name only, eliminating any use of pronouns. Meriwether wasn’t sold on the idea, as he
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