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The question on whether single-sex college dorms amount to gender discrimination is the core of a legal challenge filed against the Catholic University for its new policy over on-campus residence halls.
John Banzhaf, a public interest law professor at George Washington University and who is best known for his stand against junk food and the tobacco industry, filed a complaint against the Catholic University under the D.C. Human Rights Act.
According to Banzhaf, “You can no more have dorms separated by gender than you could, for example, have Muslims and Jews in different dorms, or gay and straight students in different dorms.”
Last June, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, John Garvey, the President of Catholic University, said that the incoming freshman class would now be staying in single-sex dorms.
In that same editorial, the Catholic University president has cited a study conducted by Loyola Marymount that found there is a high possibility of students staying in co-ed dorms to go on binge drinking or have sex as compared to those staying in single-sex housing.
In his complaint, Banzhaf argued that the D.C. Human Rights Act only allows the discrimination of race or gender only if it is deemed absolutely necessary to remain in operation.
The lawyers for Catholic University declined to comment on the matter, saying that they have been asked to keep the details of the case in strictest confidence while it is still being mediated with the Office of Human Rights in Washington D.C.