Faculty Speculates Success of Dorm Lawsuit
A George Washington University law professor’s suit over the Catholic Universities same-sex dormitories has no merit, according to a Catholic University law professor.
“In fact he [Banzhaf] has no ‘case’ at all” said Robert Destro professor at the Columbus School of Law “He doesn’t claim that CU has discriminated against him, or against any member of his family- or, for that matter, against anyone at all. He simply thinks that same-sex dorms are a bad idea as a matter of public policy.”
While the Catholic University is a religious institution under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, it has maintained co-ed dormitories for the past 25 years. Because of this, Banzhaf claims that President John H. Garvey’s new policy is not a necessity in the day-to-day business operations of the school.
Additionally, Banzhaf reiterated a previous lawsuit against a religiously affiliated establishment, Georgetown University, from the 1980’s, when Georgetown refused to allow groups on campus catering to people based on sexual orientation; even going against a religious institution the litigators prevailed.
Garvey’s plan to revert all co-ed dormitories on campus into single-sex residence halls may come to a screeching halt if John Banzhaf has his way. Banzhaf, professor of public interest law at the George Washington University School of Law, has recently filed suit against the University claiming that Garvey’s grand-plan violates the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act of 1977 which prohibits discrimination on the sole grounds of gender.
Garvey officially declared his intent to make co-ed dormitories verboten on campus in the Wall Street Journal back in June, stating that single-sex accommodations may be the antidote for the alcohol related issues and madcap behavior that plague the University.
Just as the students of the University were becoming acclimated with the new policy which is commencing with this freshman class, Banzhaf, nick-named the “the legal terrorist” by foes, whose repertoire includes over 100 cases under the D.C. Human Rights Act, and who has also dealt with cases ranging from tobacco to obesity, filed suit back in June just days after Garvey’s piece ran in the Wall Street Journal, against the university, claiming that the University’s actions are illegal for the new dormitory policy is discriminatory.
Banzhaf is quoted by the Blog of Legal Times as saying “you can no more have separate dormitories for men and women than you can have parking lots, laboratories, or classes; you can’t have calculus for men, calculus for women.”
The D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977 is the strictest anti-discrimination law in the United States, which is governed by the D.C. Office of Human Rights, is a provision in District law that “secures an end to discrimination for any reason,” including but not limited to gender, prohibits any institution under it’s authority, to restrict the use of any of its facilities for a discriminatory reason. Dormitories that house solely one gender are restrictive according to Banzhaf’s claims, and thus are offensive.
Destro says he finds it odd that “Banzhaf thinks that the University is being old-fashioned about matters involving sex, male-female relationships, and the orderly development of the human person. He needs to wake up and realize that we are not living in the 1970’s anymore.”
The lawsuit beleaguering university policy has shocked many attendees leaving them with mixed-feelings on the kerfuffle ensuing between the University and Banzhaf.
Sophomore Frances MacKinnon, an engineering student, states that this litigation is “breaking down our Catholic Identity.”
Other students have expressed ire over Banzhaf’s meddling with university procedures. Amanda White, a sophomore finance major, says “I find it ridiculous that he [Banzhaf] wants to take legal action against the University which he has no part of.”
According to Banzhaf, the court case shall generate an explanation from the University as to how lodging students by gender does not break any laws under the statute.
As for what the shall come of this litigation, the University and Banzhaf have met in a mediation session that has remained strictly confidential, leaving much speculation on the quagmire of legal issues the University must elude in the coming months if it desires to enact its policies without disruption hereafter.