Gonzaga U recognizes Knights of Columbus student group

After denying a Knights of Columbus group student-club status on the grounds that it discriminated against non-Catholics, Gonzaga University today announced that it will be recognizing the group as an official student organization. From the Spokane, Washington Spokesman Review:

“This sponsorship is granted under the University’s Standards for On-Campus Religious Activities Policy,” said spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn.

The KOC can use the university’s name in its title; raise money on campus to advance its mission and activities; use campus facilities, including for the purposes of hosting events; and recruit members and participants in membership activities.

“As with other student organizations, it is obligated to follow university policies and procedures,” Hahn said.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh began a review of the policy earlier this month after student activities officials decided the Knights of Columbus did not qualify for club status since it excluded women and non-Catholics.

News of the denial spread fast, mostly through religious periodicals. The Catholic community, including GU alumni and parents of current students, decried what many called a hypocritical decision.

In addition to overturning the ruling, McCullough also has told the student activities department to review and update the Clubs and Organizations Recognition Policy, ”with the goal of more clearly and explicitly identifying benefits of recognition and criteria for club eligibility,” Hahn said. “The revisions are expected to be in place in time for the coming academic year.”


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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.