College Board OKs Campus AIDS Tests

Despite one member's concerns over liability issues associated with testing, the Ventura County Community College District board agreed this week that county health officials may test for the AIDS virus on the Moorpark College campus.

The testing, which will take place Oct. 19 as part of the district-designated AIDS Awareness Month, will be voluntary, free and anonymous, said Moorpark President James W. Walker.

Board President Gregory P. Cole requested that the board discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday night, saying he was worried that the board could be held legally accountable for any accidents that occurred during the testing.

"I wanted to know if a mishap occurred, if anonymity was breached or somebody was splashed with blood, would we be held liable," he said.

Though Cole maintained college health officials did not adequately answer his questions, board members Pete Tafoya, Allen Jacobs and Timothy Hirschberg said they felt the college had taken necessary precautions and gave their approval to the testing. Board member Karen Boone said she was neutral on the issue.

Oxnard College and Moorpark College conducted testing last year, but Oxnard College will hold off on testing for the AIDS virus this year after coming under heat from some board members last spring, said Ronald Jackson, the college's vice president of student services.

Ventura College offers on-campus AIDS testing for a $15 fee as part of its student health service and does not plan to have county health officials do further testing at the college this month, college spokeswoman Jeanette Villanueva-Walker said.

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