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Opinion | February 4th, 2008

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Let us in!!

RE: Late night and weekend access to Fanshawe College

Here's an issue that I hear everyone complaining about at Fanshawe, so why not join in?

How many times have you come to the school on a weeknight or weekend only to realize that you can't get inside...EVEN WITH YOUR STUDENT CARD!?!

It has happened to me more times than I can count and I'm tired of it. For the last two weeks the keycard access at the front of D-Building (where my program is located) has been broken. Two weeks and it still isn't fixed!

I'm in the Music Industry Arts program along with approximately 200 other Fanshawe students and a requirement for our program is to often show up for scheduled Studio sessions in D-Building at 11 p.m , 2 a.m., 5a.m.; really anytime at all. This keycard access is integral for us. Twice I walked around trying every door until I got to the other side of M-Building in the middle of the night and then the next time I decided to pull as hard as I could until the door opened...luckily it worked.

Beyond this temporary problem is another problem. Why shouldn't we have access to the college on weekends and weeknights from all sides of the property?

We all have working student cards and some of us need to get in from the front of the school where the busses drop us off to work on projects or co-ordinate with people for group projects. There is absolutely no reason why the door at B-Building should be locked to students with student cards. It is a key access point; just make it so we can all use it!

My only hope here is that there is a person who reads this with the power to do something about it, because it is an issue that gets more frustrating with each passing January day...or night.

Join the Facebook group “Let me in my own school” to show your distaste...naw I'm kidding...just complain to somebody.
Rory Biller

Open letter to students

RE: Local Canada Blood Services protests, “UWO students protest campus blood drive,” Monday, November 19, 2007

Recently, you may have heard about Canadian Blood Services' policy regarding the deferral of men who have had sex with other men (MSM) even once since 1977 being debated in the media and at your university/college. Canadian Blood Services understands that this is a complex and sensitive issue and we would like to provide you with some information to better understand this safety policy.

Why do we have the MSM deferral policy if we test all donated blood? Because our state-of-the-art test for HIV has a limitation. In the early stages of infection, known as the ‘window period', the virus is undetectable. What this means is that without a screening process, there is the potential for an infected unit to get through the system and be transfused into a patient. And recently released reports from the Public Health Agency of Canada indicate that MSM continues to account for the highest rate of HIV infection.

The MSM policy, as with most of our policies, renders anyone whose blood could pose an increased risk to patients, ineligible to donate - regardless of their sexual orientation. In fact, there are many well intended individuals who are ineligible to donate blood for many different reasons; such as persons who have lived in the United Kingdom during a specified time frame, or those who were born or lived in Africa since 1977, or individuals with a history of malaria - to name a few. No matter what action we take or what policy is in place, it is with the safety of patients as the overriding principle.

Having said this, Canadian Blood Services continually reviews its policies to ensure they remain in the best interest of patients. As a result of a recent review of this policy, we have begun an active research agenda to inform our decision-making on this issue. Is there a better way to screen for risk of HIV? It is quite possible that there is, but we won't know that until we complete the research. As we conduct this research we will continue to work with groups such as the Canadian Federation of Students and Egale Canada, as well as keeping the public informed on our progress. Ultimately it is not up to us to make a final decision as that responsibility lies with our regulator, Health Canada.

In closing, I would like to address the issue of banning or interfering with campus clinics. Maintaining an adequate supply is an ongoing challenge for us, because on average, every minute of every day someone in Canada needs blood or blood products. Students and faculty are among some of our most dedicated donors and in fact, campus clinics contribute approximately 40,000 units of blood that help a potential 120,000 patients every year. No matter what your point of view is regarding the MSM policy, while we undertake the research to inform our decision-making on this issue, please remember that patients rely on your support to save and improve their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to carefully consider patient needs in making your decision to be a blood donor!
Ian Mumford, Chief Operating Officer
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