Is the King's College Knights of Columbus an illegitimate group?

Post Updated: 8/30/10


King's College continues to advertise the Knights of Columbus and makes it very explicit that it only for Catholic males over the age of eighteen.
(The Crown, August 26)

According the the King's College Student Handbook (2009-2011),

Knights of Columbus
We strive to be Catholic gentlemen, promoting brotherhood within our order ans strengthening the Catholic faith in our lives and on campus. We welcome all Catholic men over the age of 18 who live in the Wilkes-Barre community to consider joining our Council (44).

According to the King's College Knights of Columbus website,

We welcome Catholic men over the age of 18 who live in the Wilkes-Barre community to consider joining our Council. We also invite those not eligible for membership to join us in service, and the celebration of our Catholic faith.

According to the Knights of Columbus website,

If you are a practical Catholic man, age 18 or older, we welcome you to join the leading organization of Catholic laymen.

Knights are Catholic men, 18 years of age and older.

It's quite obvious that the Knights of Columbus are only accepting Catholic males who are at least age eighteen.

A new group at King's College, The Columbiettes, is a similar group. According the the King's College Student Handbook (2009-2011),

The Columbiettes is an organization of Catholic women dedicated to our Patronesses, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Theresa the Little Flower and St. Joan of Arc (43).

According to the King's College Columbiettes' website,

Our goal as a newly founded Columbiettes organization is to support Catholic roots in women through fellow Columbiettes while reaching to others in the community. The Columbiettes was started to support the Knights of Columbus while maintaining a separation.
According to the Columbiettes' website,

The Columbiettes are now an international organization of Catholic women presently established in the United States and Canada.

So, now that we know about what both organizations require for membership, here are the rules of King's College from the student handbook regarding student organizations,

Student clubs and organizations must adhere to all college policies and regulations.

The organization must not discriminate on membership based on race, religion, gender, physical disability, or sexual orientation (emphasis mine) (48).

Perhaps the gender requirement isn't an issue because two separate organizations are in place to allow both males and females, but this is still a defense that's on very shaky grounds. I'm most concerned about the religious requirement to join the Knights of Columbus because it's so obvious of an affront to the rules that the college established.

I recently voiced my concern in a limited post on Facebook reading,

Something is wrong here with the Knights of Columbus at King's College. College Handbook page 48, "The organization will not discriminate on membership based on ... religion, gender ... the KC KOC website "We welcome Catholic men over the age of 18 who live in the Wilkes-Barre community to consider joining our Council." ??

"Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practicing Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who are at least 18 years old. A practicing Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church. Application blanks are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus."

In response to this post, King's College student (and Sentinel of the Columbiettes) Jamie Woolfolk responded with various logical fallacies including red herring arguments and borderline personal attacks that don't seem very "Catholic" or "adult-like" to me:

I responded to this post:

Ok Jamie, I am saying that the organization is discriminating on the basis of religion and gender. The college handbook clearly says that organizations can not discriminate on the basis of gender or religion. Both the KOC (males and females) are at least discriminating on the basis of religion. Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc can not join these groups...it specifically is only open to Catholics.

"yes, you have to be 18 because they are adult clubs"

I'm not disputing the age requirement. Unrelated argument...

" you dont see the koc facebook group posting nasty stuff about you, which they should because you take your views way too far. "

Red herring argument - what does this have to do with my current discussion? Oh, and you're advocating that the KOC Facebook group should post nasty things about me? Nice. Very polite and adult of you to say that...and why "should" people post nasty things about other people? Also, how exactly am I taking "my views too far?" Is asking questions, upholding the law, and demanding intellectual honesty "taking it too far?" Is posting online "taking it too far?" What exactly am I doing...and what does this have to do with the current discussion anyway?

" i dont even know how you are still allowed to be at kings college"

Really? Where exactly is the clause that King's College students can not uphold the law and fight for separation of church/state issues?

Here are the facts:
In December of 2009, King's College released a public statement that said the following:

"Since his complaint, there has been a public outcry against him because of his enrollment at the Catholic school, but McAndrew noted that the school doesn’t “discriminate against people of any religious background” for admissions."

McAndrew said he knows of no plans to question, reprimand or otherwise address the issue with Vacula. “While you can argue with them morally, his actions aren’t illegal,” McAndrew said.

King's College Student Handbook (2009-2011) Page 51 "College students are both citizens and members of the educational community. As citizens, students shall enjoy the same freedom of speech ... that other citizens enjoy."

"and now posting stuff about them on facebook"

Oh, so King's College students aren't able to ask questions about the legitimacy of campus organizations and point out potential problems with organizations that are seemingly breaking rules? All I posted was quotes and "something is wrong here." Isn't college supposed to be about critical thinking, free speech, and learning instead of "sitting down and shutting up?"

" you might not believe in God, but dont take it out on MY school or MY organizations."

What does belief or lack of belief in any gods have to do with questioning the legitimacy of an organization at King's College? Another red herring argument....

How exactly am I "taking anything out" on King's College?


Can you please address my questions instead of saying that people should post nasty stuff about me and raising unrelated issues?

Imagine these hypothetical discussions....

King's has a club that constantly bashes gay people.
- Oh, no problem, this is a Catholic college.

King's has an organization that burns scarecrows imitating president Obama.
- Oh, no problem, this is a Catholic college.

King's has a club that harasses women at abortion clinics.
- Oh, no problem, this is a Catholic college.

King's has a club that houses dying people, forces them to shave their heads, does not provide proper medical care...
-Oh, no problem...Catholic college!

This argument of "this is a Catholic college" fails.

King's won't allow a club or organization for non-theists (and anyone else who wants to join), but they'll break their own rules in their own student handbook and allow the KOC to discriminate on the basis of religion.