Letter to the editor: In response to 'Tattoos that don't stick to the rule book'

by Robert Fleming, Executive Director, Iwasaki Library; Jane Powers, Director, Center for Health & Wellness; Nancy Allen, Executive in Residence, Communication Studies; Laura Owen, Assistant Director, Center for Health & Wellness • February 24, 2016

The Berkeley Beacon’s recent article on underground tattooing (Tattoos that don’t stick to the rule book, February 18) performed an important public service, as it brought an unacceptable and potentially dangerous activity out of darkness and into the light. 

We are deeply concerned that the Emerson student body may not be aware of the health risks and sanctions that individuals who engage in this type of activity may be subject to as a result of their actions.

We would greatly welcome your help in educating the community to reduce the number of students who expose themselves to this type of risk and harm, either by publishing this letter to the editor or writing a follow up article. 

First and foremost, both the individual administering the tattoo and the individual receiving it are putting themselves at risk for blood borne infections: Hepatitis B, C and HIV.  We also need to share information about access to testing for students who have already engaged in this type of activity.  Second, this kind of activity represents a serious violation of Emerson’s Student Code of Conduct and the Boston Public Health Commission’s regulations on tattooing and body art and may be punishable. 

We would like to discuss how we can work together to communicate important public health information to Emerson students.

Sincerely,

Robert Fleming, Executive Director, Iwasaki Library

Jane Powers, Director, Center for Health & Wellness

Nancy Allen, Executive in Residence, Communication Studies

Laura Owen, Assistant Director, Center for Health & Wellness