“Lose weight to graduate” is the mantra that administrators at Lincoln University are shouting to undergraduate students that are on the cusp of receiving their degrees.
Designed to combat the health devouring monster known as obesity, which is especially prevalent within the Black community, faculty and staff at the Philadelphia Historically Black College have instituted a program on campus aimed to force students to shed pounds at the risk of not being able to graduate when the time comes to do so.
"We know we're in the midst of an obesity epidemic," explained chairman of Lincoln's department of health, physical education and recreation, James L. DeBoy. "We have an obligation to address this head on, knowing full well there's going to be some fallout."
Though obviously created in good spirit, the move comes as a rude awakening for many clinically obese students at the campus, of which, many are in the midst of their senior year.
Most argue that the mandate only singles out bigger students, whereas, if it were actually meant to increase the health awareness of students on campus by promoting physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, all students would be involved, not just the ones that appear to be fat or in need of a “change.”
According to clinical standards, a normal body mass index ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 with anyone ranging above those figures considered medically obese. Lincoln Students that reside among that range are required to successfully take “Fitness for Life,” which can be classified as a glorified gym class that meets for three hours a week.
As of the start of Fall semester, 16% of Lincoln's senior class has not had their BMI taken or attempted to complete the course.