Thursday, December 1, 2011

OHR slaps down Banzhaf silliness

Not often you read about a government agency exercising common sense. Especially when the agency is in Washington DC, whether city or federal. But comes the news from CNA that Georgetown's resident thorn in the paw, law professor John Banzhaf, has been slapped good and hard by Wonderland on the Potomac's Office of Human Rights:

Catholic University single-sex dorm complaint dismissed
By Michelle Bauman

.- The D.C. Office of Human Rights has dismissed a complaint that The Catholic University of America’s single-sex dorm policy constitutes unlawful discrimination under the district’s Human Rights Act.
“We were confident from the beginning that our actions were entirely legal,” said John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, on Nov. 30.
John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University, filed the legal complaint in response to an op-ed that Garvey wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June announcing that the university would be implementing single-sex housing in hopes of fighting binge drinking and hooking up.
On Nov. 29, the D.C. Office of Human Rights issued an order dismissing the complaint, saying that Banzhaf had failed to demonstrate that women under the new policy would lack “equivalent access to educational opportunities” or be subject to “material harm.”
The Office of Human Rights determined that Banzhaf’s arguments were based on “conjecture and speculation” rather than “factual allegations.” [Strike one!]
Banzhaf claimed that women are more frightened by walking alone outside of a single-sex residence hall and that women would be disadvantaged in attempts to network in academic disciplines in which they are a minority.
The order of dismissal noted that some of Banzhaf’s examples were ironically based on stereotypes of “women as the weaker sex,” and that there was no indication the university’s new policy was motivated by “a discriminatory animus against women,” as Banzhaf had contended. [Strike two!]
Banzhaf’s reasoning, the order noted, could also be used to prohibit single-sex restrooms, locker rooms and sports teams, “which would lead to absurd results.” [You're out!]
I wish I could say we've heard the last of Banzhaf. Alas, life doesn't work that way. For one, he still has another complaint with the OHR outstanding; we don't know if they're going to rule on it or simply put it in the circular file. For another, he might just be the type to sue the OHR for career endangerment and libel, and take the discrimination case to federal court anyway despite the negative weight of the ruling.

But for once, human justice has sufficed. And the heavens didn't fall.