Complaint against ‘discriminatory’ single-sex dorms at Catholic U. tossed out
WASHINGTON, DC, December 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights has tossed out a complaint against the Catholic University of America (CUA) that a new policy at CUA banning co-ed dormitories violates the D.C. Human Rights Act.
Lawyer John Banzhaf, who filed the suit and whose license plate reads “Sue Bast,” (short for “Sue the Bastards”) has gained notoriety by filing numerous legal actions against companies and organizations, large and small, that he calls “the bad guys.”
These have included fast food restaurants that he holds responsible for the nation’s obesity crisis, a military academy that does not admit women, dry cleaning establishments that charge more for women’s clothing, and tobacco companies for producing cigarettes.
The Washington Post reports that an order issued by the D.C. Human Rights Office on Tuesday (Nov. 29) said banning co-ed dormitories is not unlawful discrimination under the District’s Human Rights Act.
Banzhaf filed the complaint following a Wall Street op-ed in June by John Garvey, CUA’s new president, announcing that the university would be returning to the policy of single-sex student residences on campus to combat the problems of binge drinking and promiscuous sexual behavior.
“My wife and I have sent five children to college and our youngest just graduated,” Garvey wrote. “Like all parents, we worried about the kind of people they would grow up to be. We may have been a little unusual in thinking it was the college’s responsibility to worry about that too.”
Following the filing of the complaint, the Cardinal Newman Society commissioned and released a legal memo in July from Alliance Defense Fund attorney Dale Schowengerdt which demonstrated that CUA’s dorm decision was not a form of discrimination. The memo argued, “As long as a college does not subject either men or women to particular disadvantages or unequal burdens, there is no sex discrimination. Moreover, a religious school’s right to maintain separate living quarters for men and women is protected by the Constitution and federal law.”
The D.C. Human Rights Office ruling stated that Banzhaf “has not demonstrated that women would not have equivalent access to educational opportunities or be subject to any material harm,” and furthermore that under Banzhaf’s reasoning, the university would be forced to abandon single-sex sports teams, locker rooms and bathrooms, “which would lead to absurd results.”
“This ruling dispels an activist attorney’s ridiculous claims and makes it easier for Catholic colleges and universities across the country to follow the lead of the American bishops’ university,” said Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly.
“Catholic University’s return to single-sex dormitories puts the Catholic Church’s teaching into practice in a concrete way.”
In October, Banzhaf filed a federal human rights complaint against the Catholic University of America for acting “probably with malice” against Muslim students for having Catholic imagery in all of its rooms that would hinder Muslim prayer - though the school says it has never heard a complaint from the students themselves. A spokesman for the D.C. Office of Human Rights told Fox News that the investigation based on Banzhaf’s 60-page complaint could take as long as six months.