Lists, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

heavy class load: a look at lincoln university’s weighty graduation requirements

“We know that obesity and its co-morbidities are going to rob individuals of quality and quantity of life. What good is it to go through college, get your bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University, go get your graduate degree, work for five, six, seven years, and all of a sudden, you experience a catastrophic health issue associated with obesity? That would be a tragedy. We believe that it’s our professional educators’ responsibility to alert students to this.”

—dr. james deboy (chair, department of health, physical education and recreation, lincoln university), explaining the rationale behind lincoln’s stance that students with body mass indexes exceeding 30 will not be able to graduate unless they take a one-credit gym class

you know, even though i disagree with the approach (using BMI as a concrete indicator of health is about as reliable as delonte west), the implementation (how much will one walking class really help someone in dire need of dietary assistance?), the hypocrisy (from what i’ve read, the only green thing you’ll find in a lincoln university cafeteria is lemon-lime kool-aid) the jar of stigma and discrimination worms this opens up, and the fact that a select group of students are being required to do something that would actually benefit the entire population, i actually don’t think that lincoln university’s idea is a bad one.

if the goal of a college or university is to produce well-rounded alums, it makes sense to attempt to curtail a life-altering and potentially life-threatening issue that plagues a good percentage of their population.

but, why stop there? while obesity is undoubtedly a serious issue, i can think of a ton of other “classes” that graduating lincoln seniors could take t0 help alter dangerous behavior, prepare them for the real world, and improve their “quality and quantity of life”.

wouldn’t all the liberal arts majors benefit from “its a recession, which means that your sh*tty ass degree is even more worthless now: 501″, a class convincing them to get as many graduate degrees as possible while also teaching them valuable trades such as bartending, waitressing, shoplifting, and blogging? i know i would have.

for all the graduating seniors on the football and basketball teams with serious nfl and nba aspirations, wouldn’t a class titled “you’re not just at an hbcu. you’re at a division two hbcu. this means the nfl and nba probably aren’t checking for you: 302″ help them make their post-sports transitions?

i can think of at least two benefits of having all the graduating males take “you graduated. this means leave campus and stop trying to f*ck all of the freshmen: 101″

1. because there would be more available men to date, less graduating women would be required to attend the “one hundred and one ways to get closer to your newly purchased litter of kittens” seminar

2. the freshmen and sophomore males still on campus wouldn’t grow bitter at the fact that all those 23-year-olds with cars and beards and atm cards were taking the cream of their crop. and, subsequently, they won’t feel the need to pledge sigma or que

just think about how many hours of useless conversations and arguments we wouldn’t have to listen to anymore if all the budding huey newtons, angela davis’s, and conspiracy theorists had to take a “take off the tinfoil. its really not that serious. really: 402″ class, and were then made to attend a weekend retreat where they were forced to actually laugh, read cosmo’s and maxim’s, and have sex with another human being.

anyway, people of vsb.com, how do you feel about lincoln university’s obesity stance? do you think this is a step in the right direction, or a step in a field full of bad idea and lawsuit landmines?

also, can you think of any other special “classes” that could benefit graduating seniors?

—the champ

Filed Under: ,
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • jana.love

    I think it sounds great. Put all the fat…errr, BMI-challenged folk in one room to prance around and after they will go to Denny’s and chow down on a couple thousand calories and figure out a way to eat get back at the person (s) responsible for their trama.

    Kudos.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @jana.love,

      i see somebody didnt take their politically correct pills this morning

    • HabitualLineCrossa

      @jana.love, You just made me wonder…why exactly is it that emotional eaters don’t binge on some fcukn carrot/celery sticks??

      • http://ecstaticfreshness.wordpress.com AkShone

        @HabitualLineCrossa,

        …where’s the fun in that?

        • HabitualLineCrossa

          @AkShone, where’s the fun in a person being insecure and mad at themselves cos of their weight when they coulda done something about it in the first place? Where’s the fun in condoms? Hell I HATE them…but I HATE STDS/HIV/AIDS’andem MUCH MUCH MORE.

          Adult 101: Gotta sacrifice for what you desire.
          Adult 102: Instant gratification most of the time leads to some sh!t you never wanted.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            @HabitualLineCrossa, there really is an entire line of Adult Classes one could and should take.

            you could sell them in the stand next to the Rosetta Stone guy at the mall and make millions.

          • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

            @HabitualLineCrossa,

            lmao harsh but true!!

      • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

        @HabitualLineCrossa,

        LOL, wtf?

        I love me some carrot sticks, but when it comes to pure bliss:

        Peach cobbler > carrot sticks

        • HabitualLineCrossa

          @Cheekie, I feel ya…but damn…bliss sometimes gets one in trouble…ask Tiger.

          • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

            @HabitualLineCrossa,

            It does, most def. I was just commenting on your original question. The bad stuff just tastes hella good, naturally. Junk food makes folks wanna sing, “If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”. Furthermore, if someone is in emotional disarray, ain’t no body thinking of consequences/trouble at the time. Emotions mix with rationality like Sammy Sosa mixes with melanin.

          • Me fail english?

            @Cheekie,

            ‘Junk food makes folks wanna sing, “If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”. ‘

            Thanks a lot, Cheeks! I just literally laughed out loud at this in front of my CFO.

          • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

            @Cheekie,

            lmao @ Emotions mix with rationality like Sammy Sosa mixes with melanin.

            this is SO true!!!! besides, junk food totally engages the dopamine pleasure pathway!!!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Cheekie,

          I love me some carrot sticks, but when it comes to pure bliss:

          Peach cobbler > carrot sticks

          personally, i prefer orgasms to peach cobbler, but to each their own

          • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

            @The Champ,

            U emotionally binge on orgasms? Like, you EAT them? Hush up, Champers.

      • cam1ll3

        @HabitualLineCrossa,

        pancakes and mashed potatoes with butter and gravy are a little more comforting.

    • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

      @jana.love,

      This comment made me hungry. I haven’t been to Denny’s in a hot minute.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @jana.love, this sounds like a subplot on I want to work for diddy 2 with the really nice fat dude leading the charge.

      • Me fail english?

        @Panama Jackson,

        As much as I cant stand Ivory, that big dude is a real ho ass ninja for switching up on the strength of “other people did it, so Ima do it too”

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @Me fail english?,

          I know! Also, I can’t stand how his facial expression always looks like he’s a in a perpetual state of “piss-my-pants-scared”.

          • Me fail english?

            @Cheekie,

            I cant tell if he’s gay, slow or both but he’s really starting to piss me off. I haven’t seen this week’s episode yet but Ima need him to get the boot. Did I mention that I love Capricorn, Andre Harrell and that old Day 26 manager? They keep it way real. lol I especially love how they booted that light-eyed guy.

  • Ivyette

    Unless it’s a requirement for their degree, Lincoln shouldn’t make their chunkier masses take a gym class. Doesn’t this school have…weightier matters to deal with?

    How about a course entitled ‘Yes you pledged but that still doesn’t make you attractive so please gtfoh 101′?

    • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

      @Ivyette,

      lol @ ‘Yes you pledged but that still doesn’t make you attractive so please gtfoh 101?

      i think a course simply entitled”so you’re greek… who cares? 101″. if i see one more set of where-2-or-3-are-gathered grown @$$ greeks party walk at a NON-greek function ima choke somebody. greeks know how to ruin a perfectly good dance space. not to mention all the cocky bastards walking around thinking their nalia should automate the throwing of rose pedals and panties at their feet is just ridic.

      disclaimer: some of my best friends are greek :)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Ivyette, Unless it’s a requirement for their degree, Lincoln shouldn’t make their chunkier masses take a gym class. Doesn’t this school have…weightier matters to deal with?

      it kind of is but kind of isn’t a requirement for the degree. i think they weighed everybody when they got to school on some concentration camp non-sense back in 2006 and all folks over the threshold BMI were required to take an actual class as part of their graduation requirment. so it is a degree requirement for those folks who showed up freshman year over lincoln’s judgement of fatness.

  • bittersweet’s baby

    dag, not just an hbcu, but division 2!

    i think it could be appreciated if the methodology was somewhat different. but singling students out right as they’re on the verge of graduation to say oh yeah, you’re too chunky to function in society? that kinda overshadows the overall effort with a tinge of mean-spiritedness. besides, i thought gym was a universal reqirement? guess it was just my undergrad…

    they’d do well to give both credit seminars and healthier living symposiums from the gate. Then they’d be giving students an actual advantage.

    • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

      @bittersweet’s baby,

      they’d do well to give both credit seminars and healthier living symposiums from the gate. Then they’d be giving students an actual advantage.

      completely agree. why not try to nip the problem in the bud? require ALL students have exposure to courses relating to health issues (and please through in MENTAL health). besides, just becuz a person has a BMI under 30 does NOT make them healthy.

      • cam1ll3

        @The One & True GEM… of the Ocean,

        completely agree. why not try to nip the problem in the bud? require ALL students have exposure to courses relating to health issues (and please through in MENTAL health). besides, just becuz a person has a BMI under 30 does NOT make them healthy.

        truuuu that. and nicely put.

      • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

        @The One & True GEM… of the Ocean,

        typos, ugh!! should def read *THROW. smh. clearly grammar needs to be required for me NOW.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @bittersweet’s baby,

      but singling students out right as they’re on the verge of graduation to say oh yeah, you’re too chunky to function in society?

      to lincoln’s credit, the kids had four years to take this class. its not like they just sprung this up on them last month

      • http://www.twitter.com/Vivacious2 This Just In…

        @The Champ,

        so they can take the class freshman year and have a bmi over 30 senior year and still graduate? that kinda defeats the purpose then…

        • Me fail english?

          @This Just In…,

          Pretty much. Someone must be screwing the athletics/gym teacher. Tryna save the job by creating demand for a class that was probably low on enrollment. lol. Ok, ok maybe I should be in the tinfoil hat class.

          • Sula

            @Me fail english?,

            Tryna save the job by creating demand for a class that was probably low on enrollment.

            That’s exactly what I thought when I first heard it on NPR…. and yes, I am known for my conspiracy theories so I am willingly signing up for the tinfoil class. Lol!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          @This Just In…, yeah, if you’re gonna do this, you should weigh folks every year and then get a certificate.

          i feel they need to do this with old people and driving licenses. every year after age 60 you need to take an ON-ROAD driving test again.

          too many old fogies plowing thru outdoor markets and housing complexes these days.

          • V Renee

            @Panama Jackson,

            I peeped in and saw that comment and had to say, Hot D@mmit I AGREE!!! These old muthasuckas get on my nerves driving 10 mph on these streets. WHY are they allowed to still drive????

      • Xave

        @The Champ,

        How about we have a requirement where all the underweight students spend three credit hours in the dining hall?

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Xave,

          lol, i definitely would have been for that. getting all the low self-esteem anorexic chicks concentrated in one area would be like bagging fish in a barrel.

          • cam1ll3

            @The Champ,

            lol. evil and genius!

    • Me fail english?

      @bittersweet’s baby,

      Yeah, the fact that it’s phys ed is what makes the rationale so silly to me. Nutrition, I’m learning, isnt nearly as intuitive as a people (like me) assume it to be. You really do need an education on these things. Weight control is another thing I thought I had the basics down on but its WAY more complicated and personal than I’d thought. But physical activity? I’ma jump out on a limb here and say “Thanks Lincoln, we already knew that shet.” And with this info the skinny people are still skinny. And the big ones? Still big.

      Most of your students went to HSs with a gym req already. So perhaps a fresh approach is in order. Let’s start with no more soft drinks in the vending machines.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @Me fail english?, Coca Cola called, they want you murdered.

        • Me fail english?

          @Panama Jackson,

          lol. Probably wouldnt help anyway. NYC public schools had this req and we were still all terribly out of shape. Must’ve been those “home fries and salisbury steak gravy” (Gravy? We aint talkin bout the actual meat. Gravy?!)they were serving all the time. That and every HS is within a 7 minute walk to McDonald’s.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            @Me fail english?,

            some high schools have mcdonalds in them now

      • cam1ll3

        @Me fail english?,

        THANK YOU! fix that weirdo extra processed mystery crap in the ‘teria and then holla at me. put some salad in there and some lean meat and make that my only choice…how ’bout that.

        (sorry if i sound angry.)

      • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

        @Me fail english?,

        a healthy lifestyle, esp as it relates to nuitrition is def not intuitive, as youve mentioned. even knowing doesnt automatically set you up for success.

        hell, i just went to a seminar last semester on obesity and the brain. your brain actually does NOT want you to lose weight, even if your 500lbs. it wants to maintain your body at its current weight. mind over matter is so much easier said than done, fa real.

        • HabitualLineCrossa

          @The One & True GEM… of the Ocean, but EVERY OTHER ORGAN yellin at you until you do.

  • Satya

    I’m not sure how I feel about Lincoln’s policy. While it is true that obesity is out of control in this country, I don’t know that institutions of higher learning should be policing people’s BMI.

    Let’s reflect on our undergrad days for a moment and remember how broke most of us were. Most hated the food in the dining hall and the food there was mildly nutritious anyway. When we did have a few bucks to buy food, we bought food that was cheap and would last. Fine examples include: Ramen noodles, various sugary cereals, pizza rolls, easy mac, assorted chef boy ar-dee “pastas”, slim jims, white bread, tang/ kool-aid mix, chips etc.. It has been stated many times that poor people do not always make the best food choices because healthy foods are pricier. Ex: Stroeham’s white breds $1.29 Stroeham’s whole wheat bread approx. $2.89

    I don’t know that students should have their degree withheld because their BMI is not up to par. Just make sure the plump people clear their tuition checks in the beginning of the semester…just in case.
    * thats was wrong

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Satya,

      I don’t know that institutions of higher learning should be policing people’s BMI.

      do you think a university has a duty to try and graduate healthy alums?

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @The Champ, i think that’s a slippery slope b/c if BMI or say, weight, is your only indicator, you’re failing a large part of your population. if you’re going to police weight, you need to police mental health too. and substance abuse…all that stuff can kill you.

        oh yeah, and you need to police PON – presence of ninjas…seems like college students stay getting shot these days, especially with connections to the AUC in Atlanta.

        • VeronicaCorningstoneD

          @Panama Jackson,

          CO-SIGN! I go to school in miami and there’s been reports of gun/knifepoint robberies in the mornings, one friend of mine got her dorm apt broken into 3 different times, and a neighbor was followed by 3 ninjas trying to get at her. And when she denied their advances? Tried to muscle their way into the gate. The time? 3 in the afternoon, smfh.

          I used the number 3 a lot, didn’t I?

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          if you’re going to police weight, you need to police mental health too. and substance abuse…all that stuff can kill you

          i agree. i guess you gotta start somewhere though

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    I’m wondering if Lincoln has a PE requirement at all? At MIT we had a PE requirement to fulfill over the course of our 4 years. We also had a swim requirement, which meant we had to prove we could swim a certain distance by taking an exam at the pool, and if we failed the test then we had to take a swim class (counted towards the PE requirement). The swim requirement (I think) was instituted because a student or alum drowned decades ago and they didn’t want MIT alumni drowning (I heard it was his parents who asked the school to do this? who knows this could all be a legend). I know, odd but somehow sounds related to this whole lincoln incident. Either way, seems like if everyone had to do a PE requirement, nobody would care if your class was walking/nutrition, or fencing.

    BTW, I avoided fulfilling my swim AND PE requirements by faking an injury. Okay, it wasn’t faked, but it sounds better to say I did! I learned how to swim when I was 5 yrs old anyway.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Liz,

      how much money did the MIT people pay you to name drop their name in your comment? $275? $400? 60 bucks?

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @The Champ, quit hatin!!!!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Liz, we also had a PE requirement at Morehouse. In fact, we had to take 2 PEs in order to graduate.

      Now, depending on what class you took, it was a total farce. I took tennis one semester, swear to goodness, we only met 3 times. The entire semester. First day…then the teacher kept not showing up then showed up like…midterm today, hit the courts. most of us had never played tennis before so we sucked major. but it’s pass fail.

      then she showed up for the final and was like, play venus and serena and who ever wins passes.

      btw, that didnt happen but we all passed anyway.

      yay Morehouse PE department.

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        @Panama Jackson, yeah our PE classes were kinda hokey. I wanted to take pistol but it was so hard to get a placement. Still, if Lincoln has a Pe requirement, this doesn’t seem like such a farfetched request. if they don’t then they’re just being jerks.

  • MzKang

    …because a one-credit gym class is really going to change lives. C’mon Lincoln University administrators. Seems like they missed the “just because I have a few letters behind my name, don’t mean I have common sense: seminar.” Everyone needs exercise, even people with an underweight BMI. Not only do we need exercise, we need to be fueling our bodies with healthy food, not junk which probably isn’t part of the curriculum. If Lincoln really wanted to help people have a better quality of life, maybe they should offer free or extremely reduced access to a fitness center, healthy eating habits classes, fitness classes, etc. etc…have resources easily available for people that have made the choice to have that lifestyle. If they don’t want it, nothing anyone can do will change them. I learned that in the “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink: 101″ class.

    • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

      @MzKang,

      LOL @ Seems like they missed the “just because I have a few letters behind my name, don’t mean I have common sense: seminar.”

    • Me fail english?

      @MzKang,

      Haha. These class names are funny.

    • http://nerdsatthecooltable.com SouthernCharm

      @MzKang,

      exactly! i doubt a one credit PE class will help much when your diet consists of $5 hot-n-ready pizzas, pulled-pork sammiches with extra pork, diet sunny d, and imitation gruel.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @SouthernCharm, hell, after eating that, that one hour PE class might kill you. it takes a lot of work to work those toxins out of your system. thats why the big folks were always stopping laying down and rolling around the track.

        or was that just at my school.

        no shots were fired in the writing of this comment.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          after eating that, that one hour PE class might kill you.

          lol, i was thinking the same thing. like, you might literally die right there if you tried to run longer than 10 feet after eating that

        • V Renee

          @Panama Jackson,

          “thats why the big folks were always stopping laying down and rolling around the track.”

          This image has me dying laughing.

  • superwoman

    this is ridiculous. obesity is so much more complicated than this pseudo-solution, they really need to look into a much more holisitic healthy programme and NOT make anything last-minute compulsary! first morehouse with the dress code, now this! they all need to stop.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @superwoman,

      you’re throwing too many big words out there, and i’m taking them as a sign of disrespect

      • HabitualLineCrossa

        @The Champ, LOL!! Watch yo mouf!! LOL!!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        @The Champ, You ever heard of Rollin 20′s, nigga? Since I was sixteen, nigga, I’m saying, “frosty.” You know what I’m saying? “Spoon”, n*gga. We f*cked dwarves in the ass!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Panama Jackson,

          i swear, this scene makes me laugh out loud every time i see it. i dont think it would ever get old

      • HabitualLineCrossa

        @The Champ, Why you always tellin me to go fcuk a goat man??!!!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @HabitualLineCrossa,

          she was a ho… for sho’.

  • shay_d_lady

    uh its bull.. 1. 1 class isnt going to do shyt. 2 BMI is a bull shyt indicator, and lastly high blood pressure, high cholesterol, just overall bad diets are killing mofo’s at an alarming rate why not make all the students take the course instead of stigmatizing the larger students(well even more than they already are).. also why not have a comprehensive health and fitness program available to all students instead…. Aerobics, walking, free nutrition counseling, healty alternatives in the cafe?
    Is this course tuition free? so on top of that I gotta pay for this bullshyt too? Mayne…AINT NO WAY…LOL

    • The One & True GEM… of the Ocean

      @shay_d_lady,

      off topic of your post, but you — oh shay-d one — should def teach a course in “how to have outrageously wild unbelievable experiences… and live to tell about them 401″

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        @The One & True GEM… of the Ocean,

        lol, or “embellishment 201″

        • shay_d_lady

          @The Champ, awww champ dont be jealous…..LOL
          meanwhile.. I really do think I shall start a blog…this week sometime….

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            @shay_d_lady,

            i agree, you definitely should, and it definitely should be nothing but old stories and sh*t.

          • V Renee

            @shay_d_lady,

            PLEASE DO!!

            I will buy it! Oh wait you said blog not book……well I will read it!

  • charli skipper

    um……first of all, i do agree with the statement that gives the reasoning behind the policy. but i don’t think it’s right to single out the students who have a particular BMI. and is this qualificiation being sprung on graduating seniors now!? because i’d be mad as hell if i’d been thick and chunky all 4 years and then 2 weeks before i schedule my last semester’s classes, some fool tells me about a da*n new requirement.

    i think maybe schools could add some type of credit requirement to its core curriculum for all incoming students. i don’t think 1 credit class of phys ed would have much benefit in the long run, but maybe instead of physical ed. it could be a class that teaches the basics of nutrition and the importance of a healthy lifestyle in general. it’s definitely important for young folks to learn those things, but it’s just embarassing and ineffective to point people out by what they currently weigh. what about the students who have a high metabolism at 21, but eat junk and don’t exercise? they’re at risk just like the other students. or, what about the ones with a BMI of 29? oh, that’s cool, i guess. no…..i think the people at lincoln university need to go back to the drawing board with this one.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @charli skipper,

      “and is this qualificiation being sprung on graduating seniors now!? because i’d be mad as hell if i’d been thick and chunky all 4 years and then 2 weeks before i schedule my last semester’s classes, some fool tells me about a da*n new requirement.”

      like i stated upthread, theyve had 4 years to take one of those classes. the policy was instituted in 2006

  • RedBeanzNRice on a Diet

    They ought to be ashamed of themselves. There’s racism, then sexism, now “weight-ism”? Granted, everyone in the world is not a perfect size 6 (for women) or 34/38 (for men), but to be forced to take a class that pertains specifically to your person BECAUSE you don’t fit into certain a BMI range is not only ridiculous, but grounds for a huge lawsuit.

    But how, pray tell, does this topic fit into the relationship category, Champale? Just askin. And I don’t wanna hear no “pray tell deez”, LOL!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @RedBeanzNRice on a Diet,

      But how, pray tell, does this topic fit into the relationship category, Champale?

      why is the sky blue? why is water wet? why did judas rat the romans while Jesus slept?

      • RedBeanzNRice on a Diet

        @The Champ,

        *sighs*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @RedBeanzNRice on a Diet, But how, pray tell, does this topic fit into the relationship category, Champale?

      why won’t you let him be great?

      • RedBeanzNRice on a Diet

        @Panama Jackson,

        Man, gtfohwtbs. Champale IS great, always has been, always will be.