In a closed mediation session held at the D.C. Office of Human Rights last week, Catholic University officials met with George Washington University Law School professor John Banzhaf to try to resolve Banzhaf's recent complaint concerning the university’s newly enforced same-sex housing policy.
Public interest law professor Banzhaf in June announced he was preparing to file a formal complaint against Catholic University President John Garvey, claiming that the school's same-sex housing policy violates the D.C. Human Rights Act because the dorms segregate people by gender.
“I maintain that 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,” Banzhaf said.
“Another way at looking at it is if Catholic University, for example, decide that they could reduce tensions on campus by putting Jews in one dormitories and Muslims in another,” Banzhaf added. “I think simply asking that question, answers it.”
Garvey announced in June that Catholic University would change back to single-sex housing after more than 25 years of mixed-gender dorms, in part as an effort to curb binge drinking and sexual relationships between students.
Catholic University spokesman Victor Nakas said the university is not worried about the complaint because the school is “well within the law.”
The closed-door mediation session took place Aug. 15.
Both parties signed a confidentiality agreement concerning all matters discussed at the session, and declined to discuss what transpired.
Banzhaf said he will file similar complaints against The Most Rev. Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, as well as The Most Rev. Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., both of whom hold positions at the university.
By LeighAnne Manwarren