Students may not be allowed to graduate because they're obese

Blue tigerInside Higher Ed reports that "More than two dozen seniors at Lincoln University, in Oxford, Pa., are in danger of not being able to graduate this spring -- not because they're under disciplinary probation or haven't fulfilled the requirements of their majors, but because they were obese as freshmen."

That's right: the historically Black College has a new requirement for graduation. Students must either have a BMI below 30 (a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese) or complete a one-semester "Fitness For Life" class.

Some 19% of 2006's freshman class had BMIs over 30, but most of those students either lost some weight or took the class. However there are still about 25 students left -- out of a class of 484 -- who have neither lost weight nor taken the class.

Students and some well-meaning educational experts are questioning the wisdom of the policy, but it really makes perfect sense. Colleges have a responsibility to prepare their students to be productive members of society, and to help them gain the skills and attributes that will help them succeed in the workplace.

Guess what? Fat people earn less money and are likely to be discriminated against during the hiring process. In that regard, requiring students who are overweight to learn about healthy eating and exercise is every bit as legitimate as requiring students to take a class on resume writing -- even if it's less politically correct.

The Associated Pressreports that the school is catching some flack from students and educational experts, but I say, carry on Lincoln University. Congratulations on taking an unpopular but principled stance that reflects a commitment to the well-being of your students.
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