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Jesuit school denies Knights student group status because members must be Catholic.
Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington

From Tim Drake at the Cardinal Newman Society comes this bit of news about my alma mater, Jesuit Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington:

Spokane's Gonzaga University has denied a Knights of Columbus group application to be recognized as an official student organization. Those seeking the status were notified of the University’s decision at a meeting on March 7.

The group was notified of the decision by Dean of Students Kassi Kain and Assistant Director for Student Activities Dave Rovick.

“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” says a letter obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society written by Sue Weitz, Vice President for Student Life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University, as well as the University’s commitment to non-discrimination based on certain characteristics, one of which is religion.”

“I …believe strongly in the University’s commitment to non-discrimination and inclusivity,” continues Weitz in the letter. “If Gonzaga was an institution that served only Catholics and limited the benefits of the collegiate experience only to them, the decision-making process may have been different.”

“To embrace the diversity and yet endorse a group based on faith exclusivity is a challenge that cannot be reconciled at this time,” Weitz wrote in closing. “It is a decision about social justice, equity, and the desire of the University to create and maintain an environment in which none are excluded.”

UPDATE, 4/6/13: Gonzaga released a statement about the Knights of Columbus controversy, saying that President Thayne McCulloh will be reviewing the Student Life division's decision.

 
About the Author
Catherine Harmon catherine.harmon@catholicworldreport.com

Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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