Shawnee State Response from Equality Ohio

Equality Ohio is disappointed in the outcome of the recent Shawnee State lawsuit, and we affirm that all transgender and non-binary students, staff and faculty deserve a safe, respectful environment in which to learn and work. The right of free speech is not the right to be free from the existence of other identities, and it must give way to the right of dignity that every individual holds.

Names and pronouns are about respecting people. 

This lawsuit has been weaponized by a small group of people in order to perpetuate disinformation about what Title IX requires. We are concerned about the affects this settlement could have on students, staff, and faculty who identify as LGBTQ+ or ally with the community, especially transgender and non-binary students. 

We affirm Shawnee State’s denial that anyone at the college deprived Dr. Meriwether of his freedom by simply seeking to protect the dignity of their students. We are encouraged by the number of colleges and universities that continue to take proper legal actions by using correct student names and pronouns, especially institutions who visibly support their LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff. 

We invite allies and LGBTQ+ people across state lines to speak out as you are able to on this issue, in your own communities, and with your own education stakeholders. Take advantage of every opportunity to vote, issue public statements, and send financial support to organizations in states that are the most impacted by racist and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.