The Columbia Chronicle

Xenophobia has run rampant long enough

By Opinions Editor

May 2, 2016

In April, a University of California, Berkeley student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after talking to his uncle in Arabic on his cellphone, according to an April 20 NPR article. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a 26-year-old Iraq native, was not using his phone at an inappropriate time or violating Southwest or TSA regulations, but another passenger overheard him speaking Arabic, assumed he threatened the safety of other p...

FDA tissue ban outdated, discriminatory

By Editorial Board

September 2, 2014

An Iowa woman is calling for the Food and Drug Administration to lift its ban on tissue donations from men who have sex with other men (MSM) after her deceased 16-year-old son’s eye and skin donations were denied because he identified as gay and she was unable to answer questions about his sexual history, according to an Aug. 12 Des Moines Register report.The FDA’s ban is a remnant of the 1980s AIDS crisis when little else was known about the disease other than its high incidence and fatality rates among sexually active gay men. Since then, stigmas attached to gayness have lessened and the advent of better HIV detection methods and treatments have rendered the FDA’s policy more bigoted than fact-based. The ban unjustly prevents gay men from making tissue donations and endangers the lives of individuals on donation lists awaiting imperative transplants.While gay and bisexual men accounted for 63 percent of new HIV infections in 2010, the remaining 37 percent can be attributed to other groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA’s ban appears to be based on an outdated stereotype that only gay men can contract HIV. Because the FDA did not know the teen’s sexual history, it was assumed his identity as a gay man meant he was sexually active and therefore too great of a risk. This is an unfair assumption that the FDA applies to all gay men and MSMs.The ban seems even less logical considering that organ donations of gay men are accepted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is why the gay teen’s organs were transplanted but not the tissues. The U.S. HHS oversees the donation of organs such as the heart, kidneys and pancreas, according to its website. While organs are considered a life-saving donation and tissues considered a life-enhancing donation, according to the department’s website, all donations should be thoroughly screened for diseases and rejections should be based on medical grounds. It is the FDA’s policy to test all organ and tissue donations, according to the CDC’s website.Criticism of the FDA’s policy surrounding gay individuals shows the medical establishment is moving past the stereotype of HIV being a gay disease, as in 2013 when the American Medical Association voiced disapproval of the FDA’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.One tissue donor can enhance the lives of 50 people, according to the U.S. HHS’s website. Banning gay men from donating tissue negatively affects potential tissue recipients and hinders their quality of life.The FDA should consider the changing views of society and adopt a more socially tolerant attitude like other health authorities. It would prevent the FDA from treating gay people as second-class citizens and would provide those who need donations with more choices.

Youngblood Hawke, an indie band from Los Angeles, will help headline the main stage at Manifest.

Manifest headliners soar to main stage

March 31, 2014

Electronic beats and indie-pop will echo throughout the South Loop at this year’s Manifest, Columbia’s annual urban arts festival,  when Chicago-based mashup duo The Hood Internet and Los An...

‘Flight’ soars on strength of character

By Sam Flancher

October 29, 2012

After a hiatus from live-action filmmaking, Robert Zemeckis, acclaimed director of “Forrest Gump,” has returned with “Flight.” An engrossing, often thrilling portrait of a conflicted hero, “Flight” is proof of Zemeckis’ maturity asa filmmaker.The film chronicles the story of Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), an airline pilot who saves hundreds of lives by executing a miraculous crash landing. A toxicology repo...

“Flight” director visits campus

By Sam Flancher

October 29, 2012

by Sam Flancher, Film CriticCharacterized by his state-of-the-art special effects and visionary techniques, Chicago native Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump”) has returned to live action with his new release “Flight” after directing motion-capture films, such as “The Polar Express” and “A Christmas Carol”  for more than a decade.Working throughout his career alongside friend Steven Spielber...

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