The president of Gonzaga University has reversed an earlier decision and now says a campus chapter of the Knights of Columbus can receive official club status. The Catholic university in Spokane first denied that recognition because the Knights do not admit women or non-Catholics.
President Thayne McCulloh's decision allows the Knights of Columbus council to use the university's name in its title, use school facilities and fundraise on campus. Official club status also makes the group eligible for money from the university and student fees.
The initial denial of official status received a quick response. Parents, alumni and members of the wider Catholic community accused the university of religious intolerance toward the school’s own faith.
Gonzaga spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn says this summer, the university plans to revise its criteria for recognizing campus organizations. “I think one of the things that's happened through this process is a deeper appreciation that we need some clarity around these things.”
The director of student activities originally denied the Knights of Columbus club status in March, citing the university's “commitment to nondiscrimination.”
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic charitable fraternal organization.