updated 4/16/2004 9:06:19 PM ET 2004-04-17T01:06:19

A University of Missouri-Columbia student apologized Thursday for urging her sorority sisters to lie about their health to qualify as donors in a competitive blood drive.

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Facing discipline from the university and Gamma Phi Beta sorority, Christie Key issued a letter saying she “failed to consider the consequences of my actions in suggesting that members lie about important health issues in order to earn points for our chapter.”

She apologized to the university and to the American Red Cross, which has reassured the public that blood supplies are safe.

The Red Cross received the letter but had no immediate comment, spokesman Jim Williams said from St. Louis. The university also had no public response, school spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said.

Key, a sophomore from St. Louis, said she had no further comment Thursday.

In an April 6 e-mail sent to about 170 members of Gamma Phi Beta, Key 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 Red Cross tells people who are sick or have recently received tattoos or piercings not to donate blood, to protect their health and that of the blood recipients.

Key faces punishment ranging from a letter of reprimand to expulsion if she is found to have violated a school standard of conduct against endangering the safety or health of others. Banken said Key has yet to appear before a school disciplinary board.

During the April 7-8 “Greek Week” drive at the university, 3,366 units of blood were donated. Sororities and fraternities garnered points in the drive that can earn recognition during Greek Week. Gamma Phi Beta was ordered to forfeit its blood drive points.

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