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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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President

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back!

“Well the names have all changed since you hung around, But those dreams have remained and they’re turned around.”

Well, maybe not exactly Welcome Back Kotter, but it is nice to see you all back on campus. While you were away, having a well deserved break, VUWSA has been working to organise a kick-arse reorientation schedule, including live acts like:
Fanuc Man (Battle of the Bands winner)
Cherry’s Gemstones
General Lee (ZM DJ)
Rubix Cuba (Ska)
Lead Pipe Larry & The Dangermen (Wellington Ska band)
The Black Seeds (Legendary Wellington band)
Pacific Bass Culture
Concord Dawn
So So Modern (Awesome Wellington act)
Cut Off Your Hands
Timmy Schumacher (with several supporting acts)

Plus Tuesday’s “Mardi Gras” at The Establishment and “Grrrls & Queers Movie Night” at the Student Union Building, “Comedy Night” on Wednesday at the Union Hall, Friday’s “Speight’s Big Red Bus Of Horror Pub Crawl”, Sunday’s “Amazing Welly Race” and numerous daytime events including “Smash the Exec”, “Carnival Day”, “Clubs Day”, “Women’s Group Stencil Craft Workshop”, “Managing your Money” workshop plus loads more. Details are in this edition of Salient, plus the VUWSA website www.vuwsa.org.nz.

You can also buy your tickets (except Timmy Schumacher, they’re available from Sandwiches, DMC, Real Groovy and online via www.sandwiches.co.nz at VUWSA Kelburn, Cosmic Corner, and Vic Books Pipitea. Thanks again to all those who have worked hard so far to get these events ready for our students.

Please do not miss the opportunity to have fun this week. Have fun, but have safe fun.

Also this week, the Blood Service will be back to ask for donations of blood. They will be at the Memorial Theatre Foyer, Student Union Building on Wednesday and Thursday from 10am till 3pm. Please book a spot in advance, it’s much faster. Call 0800 200 430. A single blood donation contributes to the making of up to 12 products all serving a vital function to help others in need, including those who suffer from hepatitis, haemophilia, or are recipients during transplants, chemotherapy, surgery and so on. If you can give blood, please do, especially if know of someone whose life has depended on the kindness of strangers. This does lead me to an interesting and disturbing observation. Whenever I give blood, I have to fill in a questionnaire. I get somewhat peeved when I approach the section: “You should not give blood for ten years following any occasion in which you have had sex with another man, even ‘safer-sex’ using a condom (if you are a man)”

Which to me, in effect means that if you are a gay male, you cannot give blood (unless you are a celibate homosexual). Now the argument in the past has been that it is a public health issue, that homosexual males are a high risk group for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis transmission. The problem with that is the current policy is that all blood donations are screened for these diseases. Another argument is that the period between transmission and the capacity of modern tests to confirm infection means there could be a missed donation. At the moment, the tests used can detect infection within three to four months of transmission. So, what’s this ten year business all about? It is in my opinion malicious discrimination to gay men by enforcing a rule that is meaningless when all donations, irrespective of the sexual preference of whom it came from are tested in any case. Sure, gay men could lie on the questionnaire, but why should they have to? I see no argument that supports this archaic rule. Maybe a rule that says that anyone who has had sex within the past three months should not give blood, but then that might not help the NZ Blood Service very much. The bottom line is that these questionnaires need to be updated in line with modern technological and medical advances, testing procedures, but perhaps most importantly the Bill of Rights Act!

Anyway, VUWSA will be out on campus, reminding you about Re-Orientation, as well as the services that VUWSA provides for all of our students. Good luck to you while you study, never forget that we work for you, we serve at your pleasure. Also, if you see “Billy T Hayward” around campus, don’t be afraid to say “Kia Ora”. See you around!

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