CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

SUU professor sues school over preferred pronouns

Aug 31, 2022, 4:30 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:19 am

Southern Utah University tuition SUU pronouns...

The Southern Utah University campus. (Photo credit: Deseret News)

(Photo credit: Deseret News)

CEDAR CITY, Utah — A Southern Utah University professor is suing the school because it requires him to use everyone’s preferred pronouns.

Tenured professor Richard Bugg says it infringes upon his political beliefs and First Amendment right to free speech to use a non-binary student’s preferred they/them pronouns.

Preferred pronouns and SUU students

This started last September when two students filed Title IX complaints after Bugg refused to use one of the student’s preferred they/them pronouns. Title IX is the federal statute that forbids sex discrimination in education. 

According to court documents, Bugg accidentally used female pronouns two or three times and attempted to avoid using pronouns altogether. The university investigated and sanctioned Bugg, saying his actions amounted to sexual harassment.

Bugg has been sanctioned three times. If he fails to use preferred pronouns again, he could be fired by SUU. 

Bugg isn’t seeking any monetary damages.

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SUU professor sues school over preferred pronouns