May 29, 2008

President Armiñana's Decision on Blood Bank Drives on Campus

May 28, 2008

Faculty, Staff and Students:

Below is the text of a letter from me to Tim Wandling, Chair, Academic Senate; Scott Miller, Chair-Elect, Academic Senate; and Derek Pierre, President, Associated Students, Inc. I wanted the campus to be aware of my decision, and reason behind that decision.

"This is to inform you that I will not accept the recommended action approved by the Academic Senate on March 4, 2008, "to rescind immediately the authorization of Blood Banks to operate on this campus, due to their discriminatory policy against gay men."

My principal reason for this decision is that the Food and Drug Administration's practice to bar donations from individuals engaged in man-to-man sex has not been determined to be unlawful by any court in this country.

The Non-Discrimination Policy of Sonoma State University states that, "Sonoma State University and its auxiliary organizations (hereon referred to as the University) supports an environment free of unlawful discrimination in any of the University's programs or activities of education and employment."

The policy goes on to reference a detailed list of federal and state laws as well as CSU Executive Orders and Collective Bargaining Agreements. The FDA policy has not been declared to violate any of these legal acts.

Further, I am accepting the Associated Students' Resolution that supports the Blood Bank drives on campus sponsored through JUMP while recognizing the negative impact of the FDA's policy on donor eligibility on many gay men.

At the same time, I am planning to send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration expressing our campus concerns with the appropriateness and fairness of the present donor eligibility criteria when it comes to man-to-man sex and to encourage the FDA to reconsider their deferral criteria in light of the recommendations of the Red Cross for a ban of 12 months. I hope that you join me in signing this letter."

I thank all the people and organizations that offered their advice and perspective on this issue.

Sincerely,

Ruben Armiñana, President


Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057
jean.wasp@sonoma.edu