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Professor Wins Freedom of Speech Lawsuit Against Shawnee State University

Quote of the Week:

“A penalty is a cowardly way to score.” – Pele

Fact of the Week:

Russia has eleven time zones, the most of any country. But because the population is sparse among the western seven regions, Russia’s leaders have discussed reducing that section of the country to four time zones. However, this would lead to some areas having a winter sunset time of before 3p.m., a drastic change many of the would-be affected residents do not want.

Perhaps Russia is borrowing this tactic from China, which once had five time zones but reduced to one during the 1949 communist revolution.

News Update:

Alliance Defending Freedom

A professor refused to use a transgender student’s pronouns—and got paid for it. Nick Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio, received a $400,000 settlement from the college four years after filing a lawsuit in response to a written warning.

In 2018, Meriwether said "Yes sir" when speaking to a female transgender student during a class, according to a news report released by the ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom), an organization that focuses on defending free speech. NPR reported that the ADF said the student approached Meriwether after class and requested he use she/her pronouns. Meriwether refused, and the student said that she would get Meriwether fired.

Meriwether said he would not use the she/her pronouns because it was "contrary to his religious convictions and philosophical beliefs," according to the ADF, and in response the university wrote him a warning and threatened “further corrosive actions.”

This prompted Meriwether to file a lawsuit against Shawnee State, and eventually the U.S. court of appeals ruled in his favor. The court cited that the university had violated his free speech laws. Shawnee State is required to pay $400,000 plus Meriwether’s legal fees.

NPR reported that Shawnee State University released a statement saying that their decision to settle the case was "economic."

“Though we have decided to settle, we adamantly deny that anyone at Shawnee State deprived Dr. Meriwether of his free speech rights or his rights to freely exercise his religion,” the university said in a statement.

"It became clear that the case was being used to advance divisive social and political agendas at a cost to the university and its students."

“That cost is better spent on fulfilling Shawnee State's mission of service to our students, families and community.”

NPR contributed to this article.

Sports Update:

Via Sooner Sports

Oklahoma University edged Florida by 0.112 points to capture the 2022 NCAA gymnastics championship. After the first rotation OU sat in fourth place, but they surged back to first, clinching the title when Ragan Smith (the 2017 U.S. all-around champion) earned a 9.9625 on the balance beam—the best score in that event all day.

Last week, Trinity Thomas of Florida edged out Olympic star Suni Lee (Auburn) to take the all-around individual title. Thomas used a perfect 10 on her closing floor routine to complete her performance. Though she once again starred in the team event, it was not enough to overcome Oklahoma, which won the national championship for the fifth time in the last eight years.

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The more steps you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?

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