The Catholic University of America says its plan to house men and women separately will withstand any legal challenge from John Banzhaf, known for his lawsuits over fast food and women's bathrooms.
In a June 21 statement provided to CNA, the university said it “has not received service of any legal proceedings from Professor John Banzhaf regarding the University’s plan to phase in single-gender residence halls.”
Earlier this week, a Fox affiliate in the District reported that Prof. Banzhaf had issued the school an “intent-to-sue” notice because of the plan. The university, however, says it is still waiting to “review any legal documents if and when they are received.”
Banzhaf – whose own website notes that he has been called “the Ralph Nader of Junk Food” and the “Osama bin Laden of Torts,” as well as the “Father of Potty Parity” (for his lawsuits over restroom access) – said he would sue the university for violating the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act.
The George Washington University law professor claims to have won more than 100 legal actions under that law, which he argues “prohibits any discrimination based directly or indirectly upon sex unless it is strictly necessary for the entity to remain in business.”
Although the law in question does prohibit institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex, it does so for the stated purpose of ensuring that “every individual shall have an equal opportunity to participate fully … in places of public accommodation, resort or amusement, in educational institutions, in public service, and in housing and commercial space accommodations.”
The university said on Tuesday that it was “confident that the law does not require men and women be housed together in residence halls.”
University president John Garvey announced earlier this month that the college would be phasing out co-ed housing due to concerns about students' drinking and sexual behavior, as part of an effort to strengthen the school's Catholic identity.