Gamma Phi Beta sorority issue apology

University of Missouri-Columbia sorority members were urged to lie about their health to qualify as donors in a blood drive at the University, a school that once set a world record for blood collection.

In an e-mail sent last Tuesday to about 170 members of Gamma Phi Beta, Christie Key, the 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 sending of the e-mail was first reported Sunday by the Columbia Missourian and the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Sororities and fraternities conducted the competitive blood drive last Wednesday and Thursday. It is a campus tradition that in 1999 took in 3,156 units of blood - enough to earn recognition from the Guinness Book of Records as the largest single-site, single-day blood collection. Jim Williams, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said the organization discourages any actions that could jeopardize the blood supply, including donations from those who are sick or recently received tattoos or piercings. ``We have emphasized from day one it is not necessary for each girl to donate, so it is a waste,'' Williams said Monday. About 3,300 units of blood were collected at the Missouri event. In her e-mail, Key wrote: ``We're not messing around.

Punishment for not giving blood is going to be quite severe.'' Chris Linder, a law student who serves as the Gamma Phi Beta chapter's adviser, said the e-mail was ``completely inappropriate and a huge mistake.''

Key declined to comment Monday and referred questions to Gamma Phi Beta's chapter president, who did not immediately return a call.

Following on from the story above - sorority response


“I am concerned about the incident of one member of one sorority who took it upon herself to put pressure on other sorority members to give blood. It is clear to me that the student became overly zealous in the face of stiff competition during Greek Week.

“It is important to note that during Greek Week fraternities and sororities compete in a variety of activities –service projects, intramurals, skits and the blood drive – to raise money for six local beneficiaries, so we think the competition is very healthy and the University supports these activities. In this case one student became overly ambitious and unfortunately, affected her entire sorority, the Greek System and the University.

“As a result of this incident, several meetings were held yesterday to address the issue. I will outline these meetings as well as their outcomes:

“Director of Greek Life Janna Basler met with members of the local Red Cross. The meeting was productive and the Red Cross affirmed their commitment to continue working with the University during future blood drives.

“Greek Week student directors met and as result notified Gamma Phi Beta members that all points earned for the Blood Drive had been deducted from their total tally for the week and strongly suggested that educational measures within the chapter be initiated.

“The executive board of Gamma Phi Beta’s local chapter met. After contacting the international chapter, a joint press release was issued. The release apologized for the email and states that it was sent without consent or approval of any chapter officer and is not in accordance with the values of the sorority.

“The young woman responsible for the email has been referred to the Office of Student Life and will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in the M-Book. I also have asked the director of Greek Life to initiate meetings within the next few weeks with chapter advisors and officers to fully review Greek Life by-laws and to ask the question: ‘Has the competition gotten out of hand, or is this merely one isolated incident?’ Based on the outcome of those meetings, decisions will be made concerning the by-laws governing Greek Week as well as other competitive events.”

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