College going too far?

On December 1, 2009, in Uncategorized, by Andrea


College’s too-fat-to-graduate rule under fire

(CNN) — Most college students expect to receive their diplomas on the basis of grades, but at a Pennsylvania school, physical fitness matters too.

Students at Lincoln University with a body mass index of 30 or above, reflective of obesity, must take a fitness course that meets three hours per week. Those who are assigned to the class but do not complete it cannot graduate.

Now that the first class to have this requirement imposed is nearing graduation day — students who entered in the fall of 2006 — the school faces criticism from both students and outsiders about the fitness class policy.

One of those students is Tiana Lawson, 21, whose recent editorial in the student paper has drawn national attention to the issue. Lawson wrote in The Lincolnian that she would be more understanding if the requirement applied to everyone. She thinks all students, not just those with a high BMI, should have to take the class.

“I didn’t come to Lincoln to be told that my weight is not in an acceptable range,” Lawson wrote. “I came here to get an education which, as a three-time honor student, is something I have been doing quite well, despite the fact that I have a slightly high Body Mass Index.”

Because BMI is not a perfect measure of obesity, students also have their waist circumference measured, he said. There are some people who have a high BMI because of their muscle mass, but are not actually obese, and the waist measurement is meant to weed out those people.

Read the rest at the link above.

The editorial that sparked the national debate:

Tiana Y. Lawson

Issue date: 11/18/09 Section: Opinion
Who would’ve thought that the “misses” and “plus” signs that separates us in clothing stores would find its way on to Lincoln’s campus?

Under Lincoln University rule, students who have a clinical body mass index over 30 are required to take a physical education class. While the requirement has been on the books for about 3 years, it seems as though Lincoln is more adamant about students taking the course this year.

As someone who has taken many years to accept the fact that I will never be a size two, I feel as though the administration is now telling me that not being a size two may hinder me from graduating from Lincoln.

I didn’t come to Lincoln to be told that my weight is not in an acceptable range. I came here to get an education which, as a three time honor student, is something I have been doing quite well, despite the fact that I have a slightly high Body Mass Index.

After I expressed my distaste in being forced to enroll in this class, some friends of mine, who happen to be health science majors, immediately jumped on their department’s bandwagon saying that the mission of the class is to “make everyone healthy.”

That is where I don’t agree. If that were the case, this would be a requirement for everyone.

I’m never going to be comfortable with this class, but I think I would more understanding if this was a requirement for everyone. While I don’t think it was the university’s intention to make us feel excluded, that is precisely what they have done.

So for now, I’m going to bite the bullet and take the class. Not because Lincoln is requiring me to, (I actually passed the test) but rather, because I would like to be healthier. This was a decision that I made… and that’s the way it ought to be.

Now, here’s where I decide to put in my three kronor.  It’s not the university’s place to tell the students they are too fat to graduate.  Unless they plan on forcing the rest of the campus to participate, then you can’t force the fatties to get into the pool.  At least they aren’t basing it all on BMIs — so they get partial credit, but just NO.  I would be pissed off all to hell as well.
Are we growing up fat?  YES.  Is it a bad trend?  HELL YES.  Does it need to stop?  I’m not going beyond HELL YES on this blog, but you get my point.  But this is not the answer.  Make fitness facilities easier to access.  Give better incentives to students to use them.  Credits that are worth having.  But. Do. Not. FORCE. THEM. TO. USE. THEM.  It will only make them hate it and that won’t help anyone.  Why not just use shock collars anytime the poor kids eat?  Gawd.
Updated on 12/6/09 –

College drops required fitness class for obese

Lincoln University faculty back off after complaints of discrimination

OXFORD, Pa. – Obese students at a historically black college near Philadelphia won’t have to take a fitness class to graduate after all. Lincoln University faculty nixed the idea this week amid complaints the so-called “fat course” undermined a school principle of equal treatment.

The school had initiated the policy to address high rates of obesity and diabetes, especially in the African-American community.

Story continues below ↓

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About 80 students had gotten e-mails saying they had to take the fitness course to graduate. The plan was to target students with a body mass index of 30 or above. That’s considered obese.

The “Fitness for Life” course will instead be suggested to certain students after a freshman wellness class that addresses a number of health issues.

WTG Lincoln University.  It’s not your job to parent these college kids.  Give them the tools if they wish to use them, give them incentives, but don’t punish them for being fat.

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