Law professor threatens lawsuit against ‘discriminatory’ single-sex dorms at Catholic U.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - George Washington University Law Professor John Banzhaf has made a career out of filing lawsuits, and now he’s taking aim at Catholic University’s new single-sex dormitory policy.
Banzhaf, whose license plate reads “Sue Bast,” short for “Sue the Bastards,” has made a name for himself by bringing legal action against those whom he calls “the bad guys.”
Among this group have numbered fast food companies that he holds responsible for the nation’s obesity crisis, a military academy that would not admit women, dry cleaning establishments that charge more for women’s clothing, and now, the Catholic University of America, for attempting to stem the tide of the “hook-up” culture by banning co-ed dormitories.
John Garvey, the university’s new president, announced the new policy in a Wall Street op-ed piece last Monday.
Garvey said he believes the decision will assist the university in its mission of instilling virtue in students by combating binge drinking and promiscuous sexual behavior.
“My wife and I have sent five children to college and our youngest just graduated,” he 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.”
According to Banzhaf, however, the new policy violates the D.C. Human Rights Act, an anti-discrimination law in effect in the District since 1977.
Banzhaf told Inside Higher Ed that while the Act contains a “business necessity” exception, the exception cannot be appealed to in the case of a policy that is based on “the stereotyped characterization of one group as opposed to another.”
He claims that Garvey was relying on “sexual stereotypes” by citing the promotion of virtue and the reduction of drinking and sexual activity as justification for his decision.
The policy also does not have to disadvantage one group in order to be considered discriminatory, says Banzhof.
“Suppose a university decided that there would be less racial tension if all the blacks were in a black dorm, all the whites were in a white dorm,” he said. “Each one is, quote, getting their own dormitory, and maybe some of them would be happier that way. But surely no one would suggest that it’s lawful.”
The university’s public relations told LifeSiteNews.com that it “has not received service of any legal proceedings from Professor John Banzhaf regarding the University’s plan to phase in single-gender residence halls.”
However, it said that the university, “is confident that the law does not require men and women be housed together in residence halls.”
Banzhaf told the news service yesterday that a notice of his intent to sue was in the mail to the university, and had been sent via email to two Catholic trustees and members of the Academic Senate.
“I’ve won more than 100 of these cases under the D.C. Human Rights Act,” he said.