Knights of Columbus Denied GU Recognition | News
In a statement earlier this week, Gonzaga University said they will review a decision made by the Student Life office not to recognize the Knights of Columbus as an official campus organization.
In a letter initially published in the Cardinal Newman Society, Sue Weitz, Vice President of Student Life, said that the rules of membership for the Knights goes against the policy of student of life organizations.
“The Knight of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men's organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” Weitz wrote, “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.”
The Knights of Columbus was created by a Connecticut Priest in 1882. According to their website they were created to fill a need for Catholic immigrant families that had lost fathers and husbands. They operate under four core principles; charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.
Currently there are over 150 Knights of Columbus College Councils in 42 states. The GU council has been on campus since 1999, but is not recognized as an official organization. It is the only Knights of Columbus College Council in the state of Washington.
A statement released by GU, says that “the University is concerned that all of the factors involved in this have not been represented in their entirety, and thus may have been misunderstood”.
The statement was released after a sponsoring student requested that President McCullogh review the decision. McCullogh undertook the review due to the fact that the Knight's are already present within the student body and receives support from the administration. The statement also says that “Gonzaga University's core Catholic and Jesuit identity recognizes, encourages and supports many student organizations that advance faith-related issues”.
Weitz states in her letter that the reason for not granting the request was not because that it was faith based, but because it denies membership based on faith.
“To embrace the diversity and yet endorse a group based on faith exclusivity is a challenge that cannot be reconciled at this time. 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.” Weitz wrote in closing.
On the membership application for Knights of Columbus it does state that applicants must accept the teaching of the Catholic Church, aspire to live in accordance with the church and be in good standing with the Catholic Church. The review is expected to take 30-45 days.
To learn more about the Knights of Columbus visit www.kofc.org