by Irma Pelt
Senior Staff Writer
The University of California Berkeley announced last week that it would offer optional DNA testing to its incoming class. Citing health benefits of the intended research, UC Berkeley administrators defended the opportunity as providing opportunities for better health.
On the heels of UC Berkeley’s announcement, Gingerich State College mailed stool sample kits to its incoming class of more than 5,000 students.
“It is our hope through active research to provide a new level of service to our students,” said Helena Berg, president of Gingerich State College.
Literature enclosed with the stool sample kits outlined the university’s intended research outcomes, including testing for sufficient dietary fiber or malabsorption of fat. Tests will be analyzed by the medical staff at the university hospital, who will then meet with students privately during orientation this summer.
“We can predict a great deal about students’ success based on the samples they provide,” said Berg.
Faced with questions about students’ medical privacy, Berg explained that test results would be shared internally on an as-needed basis.
“It’s about damn time we figured out how to do this,” said Bradley Gibson, director of residence life. “The fourth floor lounge of our freshman tower went through twenty seven microwaves last year because people think nuking their poop is funny.”
Gibson said the fecal matter database will also be used in vandalism incidents involving students’ smearing of feces on bathroom stalls.
“It’s our duty to hold people accountable for this kind of behavior. I’m glad that President Berg is finally taking this duty as seriously as it should be,” said Gibson.