University ban on blood drives sends wrong message

San Jose State University will continue to suspend future blood drives due to federal government regulations concerning a donor’s personal history. The FDA bans gay men from donating blood, and officials say this is discrimination.

By no means am I a physician or a infectious disease specialist, but San Jose State’s policy seems ridiculous to me. The Red Cross has a tough time getting donors to line up and give blood, and you would think a university promoting the activity to help other people would be a good thing, but no.

President Jon Whitmore decided to continue the suspension against blood drives, said Pat Lopes Harris, director of media relations at SJSU.

“He reviewed the material and he knew the Academic Senate felt strongly about the blood drive suspension,” Harris said. “He respects the position we had taken.”

Ann Marie Cordova, a senior business management major, said she couldn’t think of a good reason why blood drives would be banned.

I can’t think of a good reason either. Look, if you want to petition the FDA to change the rules, petition the FDA. Don’t make a hard job – getting people to donate blood – even harder by banning blood drives on campus.

Instead of working with the FDA, academic scientists and experts to change the rules – if appropriate – the previous university president threw a hissy-fit and sent out a letter in January discontinuing all blood drives on campus. The new president – John Whitmore – backed up the decision.

For those of you near the university who still want to donate blood, there are plenty of options. Click here for a list of Red Cross blood drives scheduled within 10 miles of San Jose State University in May, June and July.

The next blood drive will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on May 12 at Kaiser Permanente San Jose. Click here for directions if you’re coming from campus, it’s only a 13 minute drive. I’ll provide you with the hall pass.

Read Eugene Volokh’s perspective over at Volokh Conspiracy.

3 replies
  1. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    What part of " It is infectious and life threatening!" do they not get?   

    Would these same folks be worried about discrimination if the Red Cross was asking specifically for  gays and AIDS carriers because a cure could be make with the donated blood?

  2. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:


    "You are the stupidest smart person I know".  Will Smith in  i robot

  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Clearly, the new president of the university should be fired on the spot, as should any other ivory tower pinhead in charge of the school.  Neither diseases nor illegal immigrants should be perceived as a political issue; it is about keeping people safe, not getting votes or accumulating power.


    It is not about discrimination, it is about keeping HIV out of the blood supply, the other major way that people get the infection.  The last time I gave blood, the Red Cross had all sorts of stickers and other discreet things that infected people could do to give blood and not reveal their disease state or sexual orientation.  The blood was simply discarded after the fact.  This could probably continue without banning gays, but it greatly increases the likelihood that infected blood will make it into the blood supply, as some infected people have this notion that more money and research will be put into AIDS research if the infection spreads outside the population of the "usual suspects".


    Even Ph.D.'s can display the most rank ignorance and lack of common sense.  They should be weeded out in much the same manner as infected blood.

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