Ohio professor sues over rebuke for calling transgender student male

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — A professor is suing officials at his small, public university in Ohio after receiving a written warning for violating its nondiscrimination policy by not addressing a transgender student using the gender terms preferred by that student.

Nicholas Meriwether filed a federal lawsuit this week against officials at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, roughly 85 miles south of Columbus. He contends they violated his rights by compelling him to speak in a way that contradicts his religious beliefs as a Christian.

Meriwether argued he didn’t discriminate and that he treated the student like “other biologically male students.” He unsuccessfully challenged his reprimand in a grievance process.

The university wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit but said in a statement that it values freedom of expression and provides a nondiscriminatory environment.