SGA meets to discuss FDA blood donation policy

  The Student Government Association (SGA) is working on several issues, such as various policies and procedures regarding animal research, the add/drop period for students, and legal issues regarding American Red Cross donors.   The SGA meets every Tuesday at 7p.m. for roughly two hours, and the next meeting is on October 4th.               One issue that will be discussed, and has been on the SGA’s agenda for the past three years, concerns the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) policy on not accepting blood donations from homosexual men.                 “It goes against a lot of the values that the University has,” said Will Vitagliano, SGA vice president. “We are looking at the federal policy, starting at a local university level working our way up to community and state, and having the potential to get national insight as well.”                There are currently two SGA committees working on this issue, the first is Student Action, and the second is the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Environmental Ethics (CODEEE), he said.                          The reason why the SGA is addressing this issue is because the American Red Cross on-campus follows the FDA’s policy, according to Vitagliano.               “[Due to] the risk of Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, men that have had sex with other men, since 1977, are indefinitely differed from donating blood” said Carol Dembeck, communications project manager at the American Red Cross.   In June 2010, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability decided that there needed to be additional research in order to evaluate and prevent potential risks to the blood supply, according to the American Red Cross’ deferral policy.   The American Red Cross said that they are disappointed with the Committee’s decision, but are still obligated by law to follow the FDA’s guidelines, the deferral policy stated.   “The American Red Cross and the two major blood banking organizations in the United States, fully support and are actively advocating for a change in this policy, because the need for blood is always constant” said Chris Freneete, the account executive at the American Red Cross.