MU confronts blood drive controversy

Tuesday, April 13, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:04 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

In order to discuss changes to the Greek Week blood drive, MU administrators and Greek Week directors began meetings Monday that will continue throughout the week.

The meetings are in response to concerns brought to light by an April 6 e-mail sent by Gamma Phi Beta member Christie Key that encouraged sorority members to lie to Red Cross volunteers about their health history before donating blood during the Greek Week blood drive. The Red Cross does not allow people who have gotten tattoos or piercings in the past year to donate blood because there is a risk of spreading hepatitis B.

Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority condemned the e-mail in an press release Monday.

“This e-mail was sent without the consent or approval of any chapter officer and is not in accordance with the values of Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority,” the release said. “... This was in no way endorsed by the chapter leadership and was the action of one individual.”

Condemnation and competition

Other sororities at MU were also quick to say they did not condone the actions suggested in the e-mail.

“We do not encourage that at all,” said Cheryl Gervasio, president of Alpha Chi Omega. “We encourage everyone who is able to give blood, but if they have had tattoos, piercings or are under the 110-pound weight limit, we encourage them to get someone else to donate for them.”

Gervasio pointed out that the competition does get intense during the blood drive.

“A huge part of the Greek Week points are from the blood drive,” she said. “The point is to help people, but it’s also a competition.”

This week’s meetings will address just that topic, said Mary Jo Banken of the MU News Bureau.

“They’re going to sit down with the people involved and ask the question: ‘Is the competition getting too tough?’ ” Banken said. “Greek Week is still a good thing. They’re just going to discuss whether the competition is getting too out of hand.”

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