Lincoln University is mandating obese seniors at the HBCU to complete fitness courses before they graduate.
For the graduating class of 2010 of the Pennsylvania HBCU, their to-do list includes passing courses and losing weight. AOL Black Voices is reporting that the 150-year-old institution required incoming freshman to submit to a body mass index screening for the first time in 2006 and is now following up on the students, who are now seniors. Co-eds with a BMI over 30 will be required to pass a fitness course before being eligible for graduation.
The response to the new requirements are mixed. Senior Tiana Y. Lawson took to the school newspaper, The Lincolnian, in an op-ed titled "Too Fat to Graduate."
"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," she wrote. "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."
However, the school’s administration maintains that the measure is within reason. Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department Chair James L. DeBoy told BV that students don’t need to lose weight, but only complete the fitness course. The class includes exercise like walking and weight training along with information on health factors including nutrition, stress and sleep.
Adding to the controversy is the differing opinions on BMI numbers, which are calculated using a person’s height and weight, and, some say, can lead to a person being labeled overweight or obese even though they are healthy.
What do you think about Lincoln’s rules: perfectly fine or unfair?
— Whitney Teal