Earlier this year, Catholic University President John Garvey began to banish co-ed dorms and reinstitute the old-school practice of housing women and men in separate buildings. Soon after, George Washington University law professor John F. Banzhaf III challenged the legality of that decision and filed a discrimination complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights.
The office of human rights dismissed the complaint this week, stating that it is not discrimination to house students together based on their sex. The decision was heavily based on Title IX, which specifically states that same-sex college housing policies do not constitute discrimination, the office wrote in its order to dismiss.
Garvey has said that the “slightly old-fashioned remedy“might help curtail binge drinking and casual hooking up, in addition to making women feel more comfortable wandering to the showers in bathrobes.”
“We just thought it was a more wholesome environment,” Garvey told me in June. “A little separation is a healthy thing.”
The university is phasing in same-sex housing over the next few years, starting with freshmen housing this school year, sophomore housing next year and upperclass housing the following year. Last school year, 11 of the university’s 17 residence halls were co-ed by floor or wing.
So what does the new housing setup mean for students? An Inside Higher Ed reporter wandered around campus in October and found that many students have continued hooking up and drinking heavily. One senior told the reporter: “If you’re going to hook up, you are going to hook up no matter if you live in a same sex dorm room or on the floor below you.”