Sorority member urged blood donors to lie about health

April 14, 2004

BY SCOTT CHARTON

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A sorority blood drive coordinator who urged members to lie about their health to qualify as donors in a campus competition could face discipline ranging up to expulsion, a University of Missouri-Columbia official said Tuesday.

The campus chapter of Gamma Phi Beta also must forfeit any points it would have earned in the ''Greek Week'' competition for last week's blood drive, campus fraternity and sorority leaders said Tuesday.

The sorority's national office issued a statement Tuesday saying it regretted the incident ''and apologizes to the community, the Red Cross and campus.''

In an April 6 e-mail sent to about 170 Gamma Phi Beta members, sophomore Christie Key, the Missouri-Columbia chapter's blood donation coordinator, wrote: ''I dont care if you got a tattoo last week LIE. I dont care if you have a cold. Suck it up. We all do. LIE. Recent peircings? LIE.''

The American Red Cross tells people who are sick or have recently received tattoos or piercings not to donate blood, to protect their and the blood recipients' health.

Key added: ''Even if youre going to use the Do Not Use My Blood sticker, GIVE ANYWAY.'' Donors who have second thoughts at the donation site can discreetly attach a sticker to a health questionnaire indicating their blood shouldn't be used. Those donations are destroyed, the Red Cross said.

Key declined to comment Monday and referred questions to her sorority chapter president, who did not immediately return a call.

The national Gamma Phi Beta statement said the blood drive e-mail was sent ''without the consent or approval of any chapter officer.''

Sorority and fraternity members at the school will be educated about blood donation safety, said Cathy Scroggs, the university vice chancellor for student affairs. She told reporters Tuesday the university strongly discourages making students give blood.

Key's e-mail said: ''We're not messing around. Punishment for not giving blood is going to be quite severe.''

Scroggs said the university was investigating and would decide soon whether Key will be disciplined.

AP