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Law Prof Threatens Suit over University’s Plan to Reinstitute Single-Sex Dorms

Posted Jun 22, 2011 8:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf has threatened a lawsuit over plans by Catholic University of America to bring back single-sex dorms.

Banzhaf sent an intent-to-sue notice to university officials after last week’s announcement by university president John Garvey, Inside Higher Ed reports. Garvey wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Catholic University is phasing in single-sex residence halls in an effort to reduce binge drinking and hooking up.

Banzhaf contends the policy will violate Washington, D.C.’s Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination in employment, housing, commercial space and public accommodations.

“Suppose a university decided that there would be less racial tension if all the blacks were in a black dorm, all the whites were in a white dorm,” Banzhaf told Inside Higher Ed. “Each one is, quote, getting their own dormitory, and maybe some of them would be happier that way. But surely no one would suggest that it’s lawful.”

The university issued a statement saying it is confident that the law does not require men and women to be housed together.

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