Catholic University’s administration defended its plan to institute single gender dorms before the D.C. Office of Human Rights last Thursday.

The legal proceedings began after The George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf filed litigation against Catholic University, claiming that the policy is a form of gender discrimination and violates the D.C. Human Rights Act.

Catholic University President John Garvey announced the plan for universal non-coed housing in an editorial in The Wall Street Journal in June.

“Here is one simple step colleges can take to reduce both binge drinking and hooking up: Go back to single-sex residences,” he wrote in the editorial.

He called the move a “slightly old-fashioned remedy that will improve the practice of virtue.”

In a statement to The Tower, Catholic University’s student newspaper, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Victor Nakas said that the administration will stand behind its policy.

“We remain confident that under local and federal law we have every right to move forward with same-sex dorms,” he said.

Banzhaf also plans to sue two of the university’s prominent administrators, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, and Msgr. Allen Vigneron, the archbishop of Detroit. Wuerl is the ex officio chancellor of the university and Vigneron is the chairman of its board of trustees.

Banzhaf said that Catholic University’s new policy is unacceptable regardless of the school’s religious affiliation.

“Unfortunately for [Garvey], he cannot rely upon religion, because the D.C. Court of Appeals has held — in a case in which Georgetown University tried to justify discrimination based upon sexual orientation because of fundamental and strongly held Catholic teachings about homosexuality — that religious motivations were irrelevant, and no defense, under the statute,” Banzhaf said in a press release, recalling Georgetown’s checkered past with the Human Rights Act.

In 1977 and 1979, Georgetown rejected proposals from the Gay People of Georgetown University to be officially recognized as a student organization.

After a third refusal, GPGU, along with the Gay Rights Coalition, waged a lawsuit in 1980 against Georgetown stating that the university was in violation of the Human Rights Act. The Supreme Court ultimately found that Georgetown’s Catholic beliefs were not a justified basis for denying GPGU proper recognition.

According to Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh, single-sex dorms are not in Georgetown’s future.

“Coed residence halls with single-gender living units and bathrooms are welcoming and comfortable, providing the right balance of community living spaces and privacy that is important to students on our campus. Options are available to both male and female students who have a preference to live on a single-sex floor,” she wrote in an email.

Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson added that the university has tried to find a way to fulfill obligations to its students and to its religion.

“The structure we set up in our residence halls is focused on building community. … In designing these residences, we focus on our students’ needs and are supportive of the university’s mission,” Olson said. “Our residences are supportive of the Catholic and Jesuit tradition.”

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