Letters to the Editor

Red Cross hypocrisy

There is one important reason for not giving blood that Ben Delman neglects to address in his article (“Donate blood and save a life,” Oct. 9, p. 4). If you are a man who has had sex with another man, even once, since 1977, you are forbidden from ever donating blood to the American Red Cross.

This country constantly has a shortage of blood, and yet the Red Cross excludes millions of Americans from donating simply because of their sexual orientation. This discriminatory policy is outdated and needs to be changed. Of course people who have unprotected sex with many people all the time should not give blood because they are at an increased risk of HIV or other diseases. However, the Red Cross does not ask if you have unprotected sex with multiple partners. It instead only asks if you’re a gay man. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a monogamous relationship with the same man for years or have always used condoms; if you’ve had homosexual sex since 1977, you’re considered infected.

If the Red Cross needs blood so badly – and it appears that it does – it needs to stop barring millions of potential donors based simply upon their sexual orientation.

-Becky Ferguson

Too dense for city life

I came to GW in the fall of 1999 wanting to attend an urban school, unlike my sister, who went to spend her college years among the tree-lined walkways of Vassar College in upstate New York. I quickly realized, however, that many of the students at GW were simply incapable of living in an urban environment; specifically, those who had never learned how to cross the street.

Sure enough, during my four years at GW, several students were hit by cars as they stupidly wandered out into the road expecting the entire world to stop for them. One by one, the Acuras and Volkswagens of the world taught them a lesson in urban living: cross at the crosswalk with a walk sign after looking both ways or get adhered to the grille of a car that had the right of way.

From an urban planning perspective (which is what I studied at GW), closing H Street is a stupid idea that completely destroys the traffic flow of the city that was already here before all these less-than-brilliant students were imported from the suburbs. Restricting parking in an area that already has so little? Ridiculous. Students should stop darting out from behind parked cars. Speed humps? Unnecessary. The proper solution is to make sure students know they are not so special that drivers will floor their brakes to stop for them every time they meander off the sidewalk; and to teach them to either exist as intelligent citizens or suffer the consequences.

If you want a campus with tree-lined public spaces and massive quads without cars where you can wander around on your cell phone without paying attention, I hear that Vassar accepts transfers. Otherwise, watch for cars or end up with an injury and a citation for your stupidity.

-Martin Smith
Class of 2003

Obey the law

Last week, a car hit a student while she was trying to cross the street near the Marvin Center. I’ve read peoples’ opinions on how we should close H Street to traffic, no longer permit parking on the street or make more crosswalks. However, all of these suggestions ignore one simple fact: students (as well as faculty and staff) don’t follow the law. I don’t want to sound callous, but if you don’t cross at corners or crosswalks without looking both ways (and you’re supposed to look to the left, not right, just before you leave the curb), you’re almost asking to be hit.

There is a lack of personal responsibility in our society. If I am hit by a car because I legally crossed with the light, it is generally the fault of the driver. But if I jaywalk and cross the street without even a crosswalk, I would say that would be no one’s fault but my own.

So instead of saying we need to fix the traffic patterns, how about doing something much simpler – actually obeying the traffic laws.

-Bethany Cap
graduate student

Breast health
The Sept. 29 issue of The Hatchet contains several articles (pp. 7-13) about breast issues such as bras, breast-size preferences and Hooters restaurant.

It is unfortunate that no article acknowledged the importance of maintaining breast health through regular self-exams and mammograms. Young women and men need to be aware of their cancer risk early in order to prevent problems later.

It just goes to show that breasts have become more of a commodity than a health priority.

-Abby Cameron
GW alumna

Foster civic activism

The Student Association took a positive step in the direction of promoting student civic participation on Tuesday night. Originally, the SA claimed it was inappropriate for them to fund registered student organizations that promote the candidacy of individuals running for public office.

There is little dialogue on a national level between Governor Howard Dean and retired general Wesley Clark. However, on campus our two organizations applaud the SA’s decision to fund our respective organizations. We feel that fostering civic participation and awareness of the 2004 election is beneficial for all members of our University community. The SA did the right thing on Tuesday night.

-Helly Schtevie, Dean 2004, and
Lindsay Fincher, GW Students for Clark

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