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14 comments

1 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:00:43am

Good sleuthing, ladies!

I tried finding a copy of the complaint, but couldn't. Who is he listing as the Plaintiff then in the lawsuit?

2 aagcobb  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:28:21am

re: #1 marjoriemoon

Good sleuthing, ladies!

I tried finding a copy of the complaint, but couldn't. Who is he listing as the Plaintiff then in the lawsuit?

It wasn't filed in a Court, but instead in an administrative agency, the D.C. Office of Human Rights, so he probably doesn't have to name a plaintiff.

3 reine.de.tout  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:35:59am

re: #2 aagcobb

It wasn't filed in a Court, but instead in an administrative agency, the D.C. Office of Human Rights, so he probably doesn't have to name a plaintiff.

I think you are correct. It is just a general "they aren't being treated right" complaint.

The 60-page formal legal complaint filed with the D.C. Office of Human Rights by Banzhaf claims that the university was illegally denying equal access to facilities and services for Muslim students on the basis of their religion.

The complaint charged that “usually, or at least frequently, these Muslim students at CUA find that they must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism.”

The presence of a crucifix, image of Jesus or picture of the Pope is something “which many Muslim students find inappropriate and not especially conducive to praying according to their very different religious beliefs,” the complaint says.

The complaint also says that some Muslim students must pray in the “school’s chapels and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus - the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,” which is “hardly a place where students of a very different religion are likely to feel very comfortable.”

It seems it's Mr. Banzhaf, and Mr. Banzhaf alone, who is offended by the symbols of Catholicism in a Catholic University where he doesn't even teach and perhaps, has never even stepped foot it.

4 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:59:36am

re: #2 aagcobb

It wasn't filed in a Court, but instead in an administrative agency, the D.C. Office of Human Rights, so he probably doesn't have to name a plaintiff.

So... it's all BS then? I never heard of a complaint being filed anywhere other than a court! Or does he think that the Office of Human Rights will file it? I'm confused.

5 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 9:16:59am

Btw, I get the point that the guy is a nutjob and that he's doing something really despicable. It's not that the Muslims don't already have a terrible time in the public eye, but BS stuff like this isn't helpful, kind or responsible.

Very unfortunately, there are bad lawyers out there, for sure.

6 Kruk  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 10:20:33am

I'm not a lawyer, (and don't even play one on TV), but I was always under the impression that in order to successfully bring a lawsuit, you had to have standing (i.e what you were suing about had to affect you in some way). If the students in question don't want a bar of it, wouldn't it get tossed straight out of court?

PS: Agree with all of the above posters. It's not like the people who are whipping up hate against Muslims really need more fuel for their paranoia.

7 reine.de.tout  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 11:39:54am

re: #4 marjoriemoon

So... it's all BS then? I never heard of a complaint being filed anywhere other than a court! Or does he think that the Office of Human Rights will file it? I'm confused.

There are all sorts of administrative agencies that take complaints, investigate them, hold hearings, make findings of fact and decisions that have an effect.

The complaint is BS. The potential adverse effect of the complaint, were it to be found to have merit, is not.

8 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 1:50:23pm

re: #7 reine.de.tout

There are all sorts of administrative agencies that take complaints, investigate them, hold hearings, make findings of fact and decisions that have an effect.

The complaint is BS. The potential adverse effect of the complaint, were it to be found to have merit, is not.

True, but without the internet, no one would know it even existed, yes?

I've been working for lawyers for 30 years. I don't know how you can file a legal complaint without a plaintiff. Someone has to be harmed and he's saying that these Muslim students were harmed, however, the students are saying they aren't part of the complaint! I'd really like to see the paperwork because I don't think this is a complaint at all. I don't know what it is.

You can't file a legal complaint with an agency. It has to be filed in a court. I think he's calling it a complaint, and the story is getting spread around as such, but I don't think it's that.

9 reine.de.tout  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 2:01:39pm

re: #8 marjoriemoon

True, but without the internet, no one would know it even existed, yes?

I've been working for lawyers for 30 years. I don't know how you can file a legal complaint without a plaintiff. Someone has to be harmed and he's saying that these Muslim students were harmed, however, the students are saying they aren't part of the complaint! I'd really like to see the paperwork because I don't think this is a complaint at all. I don't know what it is.

You can't file a legal complaint with an agency. It has to be filed in a court. I think he's calling it a complaint, and the story is getting spread around as such, but I don't think it's that.

ehhhh - When I worked HR, I know we had to respond a few times to complaints filed with the EEOC, not the courts. These were legal complaints, and the EEOC had the power to investigate and make binding decisions, as far as I know. Our state employees also had the right to file complaints with our Civil Service Commission rather than filing a lawsuit in court. The Commission was empowered to hold hearings and issue decisions.

But you are correct about there being no named plaintiff, it seems there would have to be one, unless the plaintiff is some amorphous group of unnamed students who were harmed? I dunno. . .

10 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 2:19:50pm

re: #9 reine.de.tout

ehhh - When I worked HR, I know we had to respond a few times to complaints filed with the EEOC, not the courts. These were legal complaints, and the EEOC had the power to investigate and make binding decisions, as far as I know. Our state employees also had the right to file complaints with our Civil Service Commission rather than filing a lawsuit in court. The Commission was empowered to hold hearings and issue decisions.

But you are correct about there being no named plaintiff, it seems there would have to be one, unless the plaintiff is some amorphous group of unnamed students who were harmed? I dunno. . .

Well yes and no. You don't file with the EEOC (or similar agencies), but you present them with your charge. Below are the specifics, but ultimately, all complaints are filed in court. Agencies like the EEOC will tell you whether your case has merit or not.

[Link: www.eeoc.gov...]

11 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jan 1, 2012 10:17:36am

Thanks a bunch for turning this into a page, reine. I was really surprised when I saw it earlier this week.

Though I'm just as annoyed as you are about being snookered on this, try not to feel too bad about it. This Banzhaf guy is clearly an expert at pulling this kind of "suing for credit" thing. I fell for it too, even though it seemed nonsensical for Muslims to attend a Catholic university, then turn around and complain about the symbols. Going forward, I'm going to be a lot more skeptical unless I get confirmation straight from the people involved.

12 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jan 1, 2012 10:31:40am

re: #8 marjoriemoon

True, but without the internet, no one would know it even existed, yes?

I've been working for lawyers for 30 years. I don't know how you can file a legal complaint without a plaintiff. Someone has to be harmed and he's saying that these Muslim students were harmed, however, the students are saying they aren't part of the complaint! I'd really like to see the paperwork because I don't think this is a complaint at all. I don't know what it is.

You can't file a legal complaint with an agency. It has to be filed in a court. I think he's calling it a complaint, and the story is getting spread around as such, but I don't think it's that.

Whatever was filed, the important point (IMO) was that it wasn't the Muslim students who did it, even though it was reported as such by some. That much is a fact, at least if one is to take CUA President, John Garvey at his word:

“I regret very much that our Muslim students have been used as pawns in a manufactured controversy,” said John Garvey, president of Catholic University.

Garvey said in an Oct. 28 statement that the charges were “completely without foundation.”

[...]

“Banzhaf has created the perception that it is our Muslim students themselves who are offended by the symbols of Catholicism on our campus, and that they object to the absence of worship space set aside specifically for them,” university president John Garvey said.

“The fact is that no Muslim student at Catholic University has registered a complaint with the University about the exercise of their religion on campus.”

It doesn't get much clearer than that.

13 reine.de.tout  Sun, Jan 1, 2012 11:33:18am

re: #12 CuriousLurker

Thanks for returning to and clarifying the main point in this.

This is a dead thread, so I'm late in posting this, but:

After 9/11, people were frightened, scared, didn't know what was going on, didn't know how entrenched the terrorist Islamists were (and it seemed as if they were firmly entrenched) and whether or not they would gain the upper hand.

In the ten years since then, it has become obvious (or should be obvious to anyone watching) that those folks have NOT gained the upper hand and in fact, have been marginalized; and that could not have happened ONLY through the efforts of western nations, there had to have been behind-the-scenes assistance from Muslim nations as well.

It was not an easy fight, I'm sure. At this point, I am sick to death of manufactured controversies about things Islamic - there is no need for it, other than for some folks to make themselves appear as if they have some sort of continuing relevance. As a nation, we should be tolerant - and each of us expects tolerance back. As I see it, that's where things stand today; and we cannot continue to screech about made-up bogeymen.

14 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jan 1, 2012 12:17:11pm

re: #13 reine.de.tout

I'm sorry I didn't comment when the thread was still alive, but I was determined to stick to my exile plan no matter what, so I only up-dinged it.

I think your assessment is right on target. IMO, 9/11 was a nasty wake-up call for Muslims, both here in the U.S. and abroad. Unlike the Jews who are vociferously the current vein of extremism in Israel, Muslims seem to have opted for sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring things. Big mistake—it doesn't take much effort to pull a newly sprouted tree out of the ground, but one that has had time to grow deep, extensive roots requires the strength of an elephant to dislodge.

I think maybe we need to take more cues from the Jews on these matters as they've been at it (dealing with bigotry, outsider status, the vagaries of fortune, etc.) for far longer than than the rest of us Abrahamic monotheists.

At this point, I am sick to death of manufactured controversies about things Islamic - there is no need for it, other than for some folks to make themselves appear as if they have some sort of continuing relevance. As a nation, we should be tolerant - and each of us expects tolerance back. As I see it, that's where things stand today; and we cannot continue to screech about made-up bogeymen.

QFT {reine}


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