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Monday, November 23, 2009

Grading by another scale ...

The weight scale ...

In PA at Lincoln University - even if you have straight A's (or more if it is one of those whacky schools that allow a GPA over 4.0 ... sorry seperate story) and are class Valedictorian ... even if you have invented something that brings the University great prestige to be able to say you were a member of their Alumni ... they could hold up your degree & graduation.

Why? What would make them put a sudden halt to your graduation and career path?

Your BMI ... I was going to say 'weight' but really that has nothing to do with it ... this is totally your weight vs. height ratio ... and wrong.

In 2005 the Regents passed a provision that requires students who do not meet the recommended (i.e. required) BMI of 30 or less ... if they do not meet this standard then they are sent to a "Special Phy Ed" class ...

but they are not required to lose any weight or lower their BMI ... but they must take the course and pay for it until they 'pass' it, but in an interview this morning Dr. James Deboy, professor & chairman of the Health/Physical Education/Recreation department and drafter of the requirement, did not say what was required to pass these courses.

He was asked why, if the school was concerned about the physical health of students, they did not require ALL students to meet a PhyEd requirement for thier degree programs .... he constantly repeated that the University did not have the resources in man-power or financially to do this for every student at the University ... but he did feel that they had the right to do this because it is the staffs duty to be "honest" with their students and that being overweight will keep you from "maximizing" your abilities in your career.

And that the University has an obligation to identify factors, attitudes & values that they feel will be detremental to a students 'career asperation".

this means that if you are overweight, you will not be able to be a teacher ... an astrophycist ... a doctor ... a professor ... a lab tech ... a librarian ... an architect ... etc. -- that some how your weight/BMI will prevent you from doing these things to the best of your ability.

So let's talk about the class itself ... Deboy made an interesting statement which made me cock my head like a puppy hearing a new noise ....

Deboy said that "students who successfully navigated" the class speak of being highly satisfied with it.

This makes it sound like those students who follow the 'party line' or learn the university politics, or are 're-educated' are the ones who pass ... those that become the Lemmings of the world.

So what do they have to do? According to Deboy the classes consist of Aerobics, Biometrics, water-activities (Aquatics), and dance. Hmmm, well that pretty much grabs from every part of PE doesn't it? So where is the Nutrition class that teaches them how to eat, to teach students that exercise needs to work in conjunction with a good diet?

I mean if they are really concerned about peoples health ... why are they focusing on a single department at the University?

It sounds as if the PE dept was hurting for funds and possibly looking at cuts, so they needed to find a way to justify their existance....except that by the looks of the Lincoln Athletics staff page they have quite the Athletics dept already. They have a staff of 45 (including Admin) ... but then this isn't speaking about the Athletics department - Health/Physcial Ed/Recreation is a seperate department what has about 8 staff members by the looks of it

What the heck? why aren't these the same department? See what I mean? I'm thinking the HPER (their abbrev.) was going to be phased out and they had to 'make a reason' to keep it. Geez.

I was going to say that I was surprised that the student body wasn't upset by the discriminatory nature of the policy ... after all, while not primarily a racial issue studies has shown that if you are of certain ethnic backgrounds you are more likely to have a pre-disposition to becoming over-weight... lets face it, there is a genetic component to weight ... not based strictly on race, but rather regions where ancestors came from ... people who's ancestors came from colder climates tend to be genetically pre-disposed to being heavier than those from warmer climates (not so much 'overweight' just 'heavier' since BMI does not distinguish between fat/muscle mass) ...

but I find that Lincoln is a Black university ... so they have a limited number of ethnicities to work with here ... there is nothing on the website that says that they do not admit students of other races but it does distinguish itself a being primarily an African-American student body (all photos on the site show only African American students, but it looks like they have quite the array of staff members of all races .... but it explains why there doesn't seem to be a racial aspect to the opposition to the requirement.

Many of the staff members look as if they could not pass the <30 BMI restriction that they force onto the student body ... how about leading by example?

There are also several medical conditions/medicines that can cause a person to be overweight as well and no amount of exercise or dieting is going to change that ... all it will do is make these people feel worse about themselves. Some of which could be exaperated by a high activity levels. There was no mention in the interview if there were exceptions in these cases.

And what about those students who have a less than ideal BMI - do they also have to take a PE program to build muscle? Do they have to take a health course which tells them the problems surrounding being underweight? Nope.

What about the athletes? since BMI does not distinguish between fat & muscle, even though muscle weighs 4 times as much as fat, do they then have all their athletes in the special program ... or do they get a 'pass' on the PE requirement?

What about those students in the HPER dept who regularly take a PE class -- do they get a pass then? Or those in Intermural sports and therefore getting regular physical exercise ... do they have to take the clases?

there is an assumption here that just because you have a high BMI that you are 'lazy' or 'out of shape' or 'eat too much' or 'eat the wrong foods' or 'lack motivation' and this policy will now add 'not too bright' because for some of these students this extra course could add at least another semester before they can get their degree.

--HMMM-- I was just thinking .... what do they do for their pregnant students? When I was pregnant with my first child I gained over 50 lbs, my mother-in-law gained over 70lbs with her first child .... there would be no way either of us would pass this 30BMI requirement ... but being 'baby fat' most of it went away after the baby was born.

Interesting thought --- so wil they hold back the granduation of pregnant women?

anyway you look at it .... it is just an 'image' issue for the University ... the sasme way that Universities are trying to drop the images of being a 'party school', you will see more and more colleges/universities trying to skirt the term of 'fat U' ...

see you can spend your money for an education -- but it doesn't make you smart.

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