The Lincoln University faculty voted yesterday to end a controversial fitness-course requirement for obese students - at least for now.
The "Fitness for Life" course will now be recommended to certain students after they take a freshman-wellness course that is required for all students, James L. DeBoy, chairman of Lincoln's department of health, physical education and recreation, said last night.
Next year, health faculty will assess freshmen students' health on a number of criteria. They will then suggest the fitness course to those who need it most.
The previous course plan, scrapped in a heated meeting yesterday, mandated the fitness class for students with a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or above.
It was approved four years ago as a graduation requirement for the freshman class enrolling in fall 2006. Those freshmen are now seniors.
DeBoy said a number of faculty members were upset that the policy undermined the principles on which the school was founded because it "separated or sorted out" obese students, he said.
Many faculty were also upset that the "fat course," as students dubbed it, brought international negative attention last month to Lincoln, a historically black school in Oxford, Chester County.
The university had sent e-mails to about 80 seniors telling them they had to take the fitness course or couldn't graduate. Now, overweight seniors will be asked to consider taking the course next semester, DeBoy said.