Gender Separation May Not Fly at Catholic U

Discrimination suit appears in the offing

Catholic University's plan to convert to single-sex dorms could face a legal challenge.

A George Washington University law professor and activist has filed notice that he intends to sue Catholic U.

GW prof John Banzhaf argues that the plan to gender-segregate all of the school’s dorms constitutes illegal sex discrimination under the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act.

Banzhaf has won more than 100 legal actions under the statute, he said in a statement, adding that the District’s anti-discrimination law “prohibits any discrimination based directly or indirectly upon sex unless it is strictly necessary for the entity to remain in business.”

And since for more than 25 years Catholic University has grown considerably without gender-segregated dorms, “it is very unlikely that this newly-unveiled plan would qualify” as a business necessity, Banzhaf added.

Catholic University president John Garvey wrote in June 13 Wall Street Journal op-ed that the most serious ethical challenges college students face are “binge drinking” and “the culture of hooking up.”  He said all freshmen will live in single-sex dorms next year, and the change will be phased in for all grades over the next several years.

Catholic University officials did not have an immediate comment on the potential lawsuit.

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