Too Fat to Graduate?

Wow! This is a tough call. I really appreciate the sentiment behind Lincoln University’s fitness requirement for undergraduates. But in today’s politically correct atmosphere, I can’t image that it will stand a chance in the court of public opinion. Here’s the story.

Students at Lincoln University, PA with a body mass index of 30 or above (meaning they are medically obese) must take a fitness course that meets three hours per week. Those assigned to the class who do not complete it, can not graduate. This fitness requirement was instituted for the freshman class of 2006. And these students are now seniors facing graduation.

According to CNN, one of those affected 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.”

Lincoln is not, however, the only college to have a phys ed requirement. I know that Columbia University in the City of New York requires students to pass a swimming test. I imagine they offer swimming lessons for those who need them. So, is this so much different? Those students that can’t pass the BMI, must take a class. Classes are also frequently required at many colleges for those who can’t test out of writing or computer skills.

What do you think? Is Lincoln University discriminating in an unlawful way against obese students? Or they are within their rights to require obese students to take a fitness class?


  1. Zilke says

    I agree WOW!!!
    I can surely understand their way of thinking behind the whole BMI fitness class!!! Obesity is a problem world wide. Promoting good health is a quality of an excellent school but they are implementing it totally wrong!!! Instead of using a constructive manner to improve her way of thinking about health, they are destructing her own body image and selfconfidence.
    Futher more I think it is against consitutional laws to make some classes compulsary for some students but not for others. Especially if they’re in the same class. I agree with Greg and Ceebee it is discrimination!!
    Lastly I think it is unethical to make something that is bassed on the extrenal a requirement for a degree. It sounds like something highschool kids would do!!!!

  2. says

    Unreal. The rules/requirements should be for everyone. Not for a specific class or target. That’s discrimination.
    Schools in general are just a joke and a waste of money. Schools are nothing but broken promises and dreams. They teach people nothing of real value. The only thing schools teach is how to be subservient under a “one world government”. No free thinking, no creativity, no independence in schools.
    Better off using the internet for learning and education. You learn a lot more than being inside the box. A degree/diploma is nothing but a piece of paper.

  3. karlysound says

    I think it is none of their business. To many people think they can tell a person what they can and cannot do. This is WRONG! They are EDUCATORS, not the health police.
    Now in saying that, I know certain basic risky practices, such as smoking, drinking, overeating, etc…, can cause problems. But we are all grown here. This is not like a morbidly obese child, who is “at risk”, being refused a candy bar and too much television time. This is like the trans fat kick. Just a little over the top, maybe?
    But now I am curious. Are these “required” classes free? Or just one more avenue used by this institution to dip a little deeper into the wallets of those unfortunate enough to be classified as overweight.

  4. Joanne says

    There are too many overweight people and if a requirement can get some to become serious about their health, then I am all for it. Do you know that when we had an exchange student from Germany visit, she thought that ALL Americans were overweight? That is not a pretty picture.
    From elementary grades on children are taught good health habits, but why are bad choices still being made even as adults? It certainly isn’t lack of information.

  5. Rosemary Eichler says

    I can understand the wisdom of the classes and yes when I went to college we were required to take a couple of phys ed courses however, these students are adults. All choices are being taken away as society legislates more and more things–no smoking, no texting etc. When do we learn to make healthy “choices” and not have toos? Isn’t it more about teaching people how to make informed decisions? We quickly learned in a chem class not to mix certain things together. We can also learn to choose not to have a big Mac and fries everyday. We always want students to become lifelong learners. With the tactic that Lincoln University has chosen, students will learn until graduation and then forget it. Forcing people to learn never works.

  6. Joyce says

    Are these students not aware of the requirement when they enroll in the school? Since I am sure that they are, then they are making a choice to attend the university and abide by its graduation requirements. If they find those requirements unfair, they have the right to attend a different college.

  7. Registered User says

    Yes, Greg, although I am not a BMI expert by any means, I did read that Lincoln University used a waist measurement to balance the BMI figure, so that extra-athletic types weren’t caught in the net.

  8. says

    BMI is notoriously inaccurate because it’s just a height to weight ratio. Bodybuilders and other athletes can be considered obese because they pack so much muscle on their frames and muscle is three times denser than fat.
    At the same time, some organizations are using different formulas for ethnicities with slighter builds, because they require a higher body fat percentage to reache an “obese” BMI than an average caucasian.
    Trying to make all students fit the BMI model is actually discriminatory against more athletic and heavier built students because they may actually be more fit and healthy by a variety of measures than more sedentary or smaller-framed students with the same BMI.