Armi?na rejects faculty resolution opposing FDA's barring of gays from donations

Blood drives at Sonoma State University, threatened by a faculty resolution saying they discriminate against gay men, will continue, the school's president has said.

President Rubin Armi?na wrote in a letter to faculty and student leaders that there was no legal ruling that a federal policy banning blood donations from homosexual men violated anti-discrimination policies.

The ban, Armi?na wrote, "has not been determined unlawful by any court in this country."

On April 24, members of the Sonoma State Faculty Senate voted 21-13 to approve a resolution urging Armi?na's administration to rescind the authorization of blood banks to operate at the school.

The faculty was protesting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy prohibiting donations by men who have had sex with other men anytime since 1977. The policy was adopted to try to prevent the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS, through blood transfusions.

Critics say blood-screening techniques already in use would detect HIV, making the policy unnecessary.

Professor Rick Luttmann, lead author of the faculty resolution, said the decision diminished the school's nondiscrimination policy.

Luttmann also disagreed with Armi?na's reasoning.

The interpretation of the phrase "unlawful discrimination" by California State University's legal counsel is "so narrow that it essentially reduces our campus policy to a simple statement that we will obey court orders," Luttmann said.

Faculty Chairman Tim Wandling said that "most in our campus community believe the FDA must change its policy on this matter."

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