A silent protest against the FDA policy that prohibits gay men from donating blood was held at Oregon State University this week. Several students and faculty members stood in silence in front of the Memorial Union.
It would be wonderful if OSU President Ed Ray would do what San José State University President Don W. Kassing did at the SJSU campus. President Kassing suspended all campus blood drives in protest of the FDA’s homophobic policy citing that the policy violates SJSU’s non-discrimination policy.
Oregon State University’s Institutional Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action states that OSU as “an institution of higher education and as a community of scholars, is committed to the elimination of discrimination and the provision of equal opportunity in education and employment.”
I hope that part of our institutional commitment to the elimination of discrimination would include prohibiting campus blood drives until the FDA removes their current policy.
The wordsmiths who crafted the OSU non-discrimination document were crafty in their wording of probably the most important component of the policy:
“Oregon State University, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status in any of its policies, procedures, or practices.”
Basically it allows those in charge to say that OSU does not discriminate against anyone’s sexual orientation….unless of course the federal government has a policy that is discriminatory, that would be okay, because we are still in compliance. Yuck!
Update: San Jose State University’s ban on campus blood drives is still in effect:
Amidst growing support from local government officials, the San Jose State University president announced Tuesday that the school’s blood drive suspension will continue in an effort to urge the Food and Drug Administration to change its ban on accepting blood donations from gay men.
U.S. Reps. Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren and Sam Farr issued a letter to the FDA asking the agency to consider updating the 16-year-old policy. In addition, Farr reportedly butted heads with FDA officials on the science behind the policy at a House Appropriations Committee hearing April 2.
“I am pleased to receive support from the congressional delegation for Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties,” President Don Kassing said in a prepared statement. “However, San Jose State’s campus blood drive suspension will remain in place.
“I remain steadfast in my belief that the FDA’s lifetime blood donor deferral affecting gay men violates our non-discrimination policy. Our policy is much more than a regulation. It is an expression of values we all share, most notably our core belief that people must be treated as individuals, free of prejudice.”