WASHINGTON (RNS) — The District of Columbia has dismissed a complaint against The Catholic University of America (CUA) that charged the school’s return to same-gender student housing discriminates against women.
In an order issued Nov. 29, the city’s Office of Human Rights said offering only single-sex dormitories is not unlawful discrimination under the District’s Human Rights Act.
To follow the complaint’s reasoning would lead to “a prohibition on same-sex bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams, which would lead to absurd results,” the order said.
The complaint was filed by John F. Banzhaf III, a famously litigious law professor from neighboring George Washington University.
Banzhaf filed another complaint in October accusing CUA of discriminating against Muslim students by not providing any prayer rooms free of Catholic iconography. That complaint is still pending before the Human Rights Office.
Banzhaf, who has gained notoriety by filing multiple suits against big tobacco and fast-food restaurants, could not be reached for comment.
The ruling stated that Banzhaf offered “conjecture and speculation” on how CUA’s housing policy might negatively affect women, and said his examples were “not factual allegations.”
Most importantly, Banzhaf “has not demonstrated that women would not have equivalent access to educational opportunities or be subject to any material harm,” the order said.
CUA President John Garvey, who ended mixed-gender housing in a bid to crack down on drinking and casual sex, welcomed the decision.
“I am thankful for the outpouring of public support for our right to implement a principled decision to transition to single-sex residence halls,” Garvey said. “We will continue down that path.”
— Josef Kuhn
© 2011 Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Posted Dec. 2, 2011